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The Class (Entre les murs) [DVD]

François Bégaudeau , Laurent Cantet    To Be Announced   DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Actors: François Bégaudeau
  • Directors: Laurent Cantet
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Classification: To be announced
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001KW02XC


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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Class 14 Aug 2009
By C. MacLellan VINE VOICE
The Plot
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 Review
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.

The Verdict
A lesson in conflict and communication, The Class has much to teach us about education and attitudes towards it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking and scary 23 Dec 2009
By 3inarow
A very good film to watch. Unlike other reviewers, I didn't find this at all ponderous or too talky. Instead, it was thought provoking and scarily accurate. Although a primary teacher, there were still many scenes which struck a chord e.g. the pupils' apparent disinclination to learn, the awkwardness of parents' evening and the powerlessness of teachers to understand the viewpoint of their students. Particularly scary is one of the final scenes when a pupil confesses that she has understood nothing and the teacher can only utter useless platitudes.

The film offers no solutions to the underlying conflict between teachers and pupils. There is no Hollywood-type ending and the film is all the better for it.

I had a few problems with the translated subtitles and would have appreciated subtitles in French to understand some of the slang the children used.

Highly recommended.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great potential, but becomes ponderous 17 July 2009
I had been looking forward to seeing this film since first hearing about its achievements at Cannes in 2008. The story is loosely based on the book "Entre Les Murs" - between the walls, François Marin is a teacher in a school for special needs / wayward and disadvantaged children, many of them from France's overseas territories or former colonies.

The first hour or so the film develops well, introducing the main protagonists and the inevitable tensions between them all starting to build - François's frustrations at their inattention to his teachings, the student's frustrations at his inability to empathise and defend them against bad behaviour charges, the frictions of a new boy from the West Indies arriving and clashing with the existing top student dog from Mali, the risk of the class itself turning the tables on the teacher and seeing him expelled from the school.... you have the feeling that the film is building to a crescendo.

I don't want to spoil the movie for others by revealing the end, but all I will say is that, as is so typically the case with some modern 'art house' French cinema, there seems to be a huge reticence to leave anything on the cutting room floor. The scene where the teachers were voting on the future of Souleymane is verging on OTT as the camera follows the transparent ballot box around the teachers and they drop in their folded voting slips. I expect the director may believe there is huge visual metaphor in that - the 'supposed transparency yet closedness' of the school disciplinary process, but I found it laboured and pretentious. And disappointingly, after about 75 minutes in, this is how the films goes, overly ponderous and lingering.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
The Class, set in a tough, ethnically diverse comprehensive school on the edge of Paris, follows a group of students and their teacher, whose interactions with one another are sometimes amicable and, at other times, combative. The Class is neither a documentary nor is it, strictly speaking, a docudrama. It is a drama which blurs the line between fiction and reality. Cantet achieved the film's true-to-life feel by using real kids and their teachers from Francoise Dolto Junior High in Paris's 20th arrondissement instead of actors - in much the same tradition as Gillo Pontecorvo's masterpiece, The Battle of Algiers; Ken Loach's Poor Cow and Kes; and more recently Saul Dibb's Bullet Boy. These directors were successful in "engineering" an understated simplicity in their works, as well as creating a heightened sense of realism, achieved by using non-actors to play the main roles, and diverging from a written script. In an interview Cantet revealed no dialogue was written, although a framework story for the students was provided. He also held weekly improv sessions for eight months with the actors, including Francois Begaudeau (who plays the teacher, and also authored the novel and co-authored the screenplay). This process created a sense of spontaneity in each of the scenes. The Class was made with the relatively low budget of 2.3 million euros: It was shot using three high definition cameras (one pointed at the teacher, another on the student at the centre of the scene, and a third camera poised to capture moments of digression).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking and engaging
A drama with the feel of a fly-on-the-wall documentary which draws you in with its presentation of a French teacher's experience of teaching in a challenging Paris secondary... Read more
Published 22 hours ago by Mike K
5.0 out of 5 stars great
I saw this at the cinema and then bought it to use with my GCSE class - it is interesting and educational.
Published 1 month ago by Mrs Sara J McSweeney
5.0 out of 5 stars There but for fortune
Based on the autobiography of an idealistic and individualistic young French teacher who plays himself in the film and drawing on many hours of improvisation with pupils in a... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Antenna
5.0 out of 5 stars A French inner-city school
Superb docu-drama, filmed in a real school in the outskirts of Paris, whose pupils are largely of immigrant background; the teenage actors are drawn from the actual school, and are... Read more
Published 3 months ago by sally tarbox
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastique!
A brilliant film, an outstanding cast. This film really gives you an insight into the French education system. I used it with my secondary French classes and they loved it. Read more
Published 7 months ago by MariaH
3.0 out of 5 stars NOT BAD
It's an okay school room drama. It did bring to the forefront the socio-economic of being born on the other side of the street so to speak. Read more
Published 9 months ago by M. J. Toussaint
5.0 out of 5 stars Truthful portrait of French schools
I liked this movie because it delivers a truthful portrait of French schools, focusing on its classes made of students of different countries and cultures. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Francesco De Nicola
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing.
I don't think I can fault this film. It's instantly involving, the acting is impeccable, and it's political allegory is so subtle and just perfect - never patronising or preaching... Read more
Published on 21 Jan 2012 by DanielJohnson
5.0 out of 5 stars The Class
The High School film where an idealistic young teacher meets up with a bunch of tough kids is a well worn genre. Read more
Published on 17 Oct 2011 by Moonlit
5.0 out of 5 stars Authentic and moving
I didn't know whether this film was a documentary or a drama, it turns out that it's the latter, but its appeal is that it feels like reality and evokes the dilemmas and problems... Read more
Published on 4 Dec 2010 by William Cohen
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Can the subtitles be turned off? 0 7 Oct 2012
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