Working in a tough Parisian suburb, teacher François Marin (François Bégaudeau) thinks that he can turn around the fortunes of his unruly class. That is until his class turn on him.
The winner of the Palme d'Or at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival should definitely come with a health warning prior to viewing. It should warn all potential teachers to avoid watching the film, as once they watch it, they're likely to be put off teaching for life. They should then be provided with an emergency copy of School of Rock and a tub of Ben and Jerry's.
The Class's original French title, Entre les murs, or Between The Walls, is probably a better title for the film, as the classroom at its centre serves as a cauldron of clashes, not only between the teacher and his 24 students, but between the students themselves. During the school year, there are many ups and downs, with the cauldron continuing to bubble and boil over at certain points. What makes the film all the more brilliant is that this could be any class, in any school.
François Bégaudeau has the real life experience, having written a book on his time in the classroom and this comes across in his performance in the lead role. He is an idealist, constantly pushing the boulder up the hill, simply for it to continue slipping back down. The use of real students, teachers and parents also adds to the authenticity of the film.
A lesson in conflict and communication, The Class has much to teach us about education and attitudes towards it.