The Class

( 3 )


François is a tough but fair teacher working in one of France's toughest schools, and his honest demeanor in the classroom has made him a great success with the students. But this year things are different, because when the students begin to challenge his methods François will find his classroom ethics put to the ultimate test. François Bégaudeau stars in director Laurent Cantet's entry into the 2008 Cannes Film Festival.
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François is a tough but fair teacher working in one of France's toughest schools, and his honest demeanor in the classroom has made him a great success with the students. But this year things are different, because when the students begin to challenge his methods François will find his classroom ethics put to the ultimate test. François Bégaudeau stars in director Laurent Cantet's entry into the 2008 Cannes Film Festival.
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Special Features

Making-of featurette; Commentary on select scenes
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Jason Buchanan
Teaching is tough all over, and being a good educator means not only taking as much away from the classroom experience as you put into it, but also accepting the towering responsibility of holding sway over impressionable minds. So goes the story in The Class, a film about the efforts made by a bright young French teacher to reach his uninterested students, as well as an honest examination of how people interact in an environment where everyone is expected to get along. Inspired by writer/star
eal-life teacher François Bégaudeau's memoir of the same name, The Class permits us a tantalizing look into a typical French classroom. François Marin Bégaudeau playing a fictionalized version of himself isn't content to simply teach French, he wants to challenge his students to think as well. But while Marin's intentions may be noble, his students are rebellious and decidedly strong-headed. Most have little interest in the subject at hand, though by assigning them projects in which they must master the language while learning about themselves in the process, Marin works hard to keep them learning. Some students, like Chinese immigrant Wei Wey Huang, are up to the challenge, while others like the tempestuous Souleymane Franck Keita and outspoken sports fan Nassim Nassim Amrabt seem more interested in shaking things up than bettering themselves. When Souleymane erupts during a heated exchange between the teacher and his students, the school board schedules a meeting to determine if he should be expelled. Marin's account of the incident will play a pivotal role in determining whether Souleymane stays or goes, but when it comes to light that the teacher himself made some questionable comments in front of his students that day, his fellow board members begin to suspect that he may have inadvertently escalated the situation. When a concerned student reveals that Souleymane's father will send the boy back to Mali if he's expelled, Marin realizes that his actions may have greater consequences than he intended. The Class may feel more like a documentary than a straightforward narrative feature, but therein lies its effectiveness in revealing the many challenges faced by contemporary educators -- or at least the ones who give a damn. Every caring teacher strives to give his or her students something useful to take away from the classroom, but few are able to accomplish the monumental task of convincing them to listen long enough to actually let those lessons sink in. Being a teacher just might be the most thankless job out there, but it's also one of the most important. Marin realizes this, and it obviously matters to him. With naturalistic grace, Bégaudeau's screenplay makes use feel like we're sitting in the classroom observing rather than sitting in a darkened theater -- and it matches perfectly with director Laurent Cantet's handheld shooting style. The students look like average kids as opposed to aspiring actors dressed by a professional costume designer, and their dialogue sounds as if it was actually spoken by 13-year-olds rather than penned by a fortysomething screenwriter seeking to create a conflict scenario instead of allowing the natural tensions of the classroom to drive the story. In a Hollywood film, the troubled student would come back to the school after being expelled and hold the classroom hostage at gunpoint until the teacher found some miraculous means of breaking through to him just as the police were about to storm the building. But Bégaudeau is less concerned with contrived drama than in providing us with the opportunity to actually listen to what these kids are saying. The dilapidated public education system appears constantly poised on the verge of collapse, and there's no denying that the students can sense this. So do they just play along with the game until the inevitable happens, or do they rise to the challenge in an attempt to take control of their futures? In raising these questions, The Class may hit too close to home to be considered "entertainment" for many. But for those of us who remain curious about the current state of public education and are willing to listen to what these students have to say, hearing their thoughts is as engaging as it is educational.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/11/2009
  • UPC: 043396287532
  • Original Release: 2008
  • Rating:

  • Source: Sony Pictures
  • Region Code: 1
  • Time: 2:10:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 5,096

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
François Begaudeau François
Franck Keita Souleymane
Nassim Amrabt Nassim
Esmerelda Ouertani Sandra
Laura Baquela Laura
Cherif Bounaidja Rachedi Cherif
Wei Huang Wei
Juliette Demaille Juliette
Rachel Regulier Khoumba
Carl Nanor Carl
Henriette Kasaruhanda Henriette
Daila Doucouré
Arthur Fogel
Damien Gomes
Louise Grinberg
Qifei Huang
Lucie Landrevie
Agame Malembo-Emene
Rabah Nait Ouffela
Burak Ozyilmaz
Eva Paradiso
Angelica Sancho
Samantha Soupirot
Boubcar Touré
Justine Wu
Technical Credits
Laurent Cantet Director, Screenwriter
Simon Arnal-Szlovak Producer
François Begaudeau Screenwriter
Caroline Benjo Producer
Robin Campillo Editor, Screenwriter
Michel Dubois Asst. Director, Production Manager
Jean-Pierre Laforce Sound/Sound Designer
Georgi Lazarevski Cinematographer
Stephanie Leger Editor
Barbara Letellier Producer
Olivier Mauvezin Sound/Sound Designer
Pierre Milon Cinematographer
Catherine Pujol Cinematographer
Agnes Ravez Sound/Sound Designer
Carole Scotta Producer
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Class
1. Chapter 1 [4:33]
2. Chapter 2 [3:13]
3. Chapter 3 [5:53]
4. Chapter 4 [2:49]
5. Chapter 5 [6:57]
6. Chapter 6 [3:07]
7. Chapter 7 [5:39]
8. Chapter 8 [6:11]
9. Chapter 9 [3:41]
10. Chapter 10 [4:56]
11. Chapter 11 [2:57]
12. Chapter 12 [6:02]
13. Chapter 13 [2:41]
14. Chapter 14 [6:28]
15. Chapter 15 [3:29]
16. Chapter 16 [3:15]
17. Chapter 17 [2:55]
18. Chapter 18 [6:43]
19. Chapter 19 [1:49]
20. Chapter 20 [6:36]
21. Chapter 21 [6:09]
22. Chapter 22 [2:23]
23. Chapter 23 [3:49]
24. Chapter 24 [5:26]
25. Chapter 25 [2:00]
26. Chapter 26 [8:38]
27. Chapter 27 [7:17]
28. Chapter 28 [3:46]
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Disc #1 -- The Class
   Play Movie
   Scene Selections
         Subtitles Off
   Special Features
      Audio and Video Scene Commentaries With Director Laurent Cantet and Writer / Actor François Bégaudeau
         The Imperfect of the Subjuncture
         The Courtyard Dispute
      Making of The Class
      Theatrical Trailer
         Paris 36
         Easy Virtue
         Every Little Step
         It Might Get Loud
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Education: Both Sides

    THE CLASS ('ENTRE LES MURS') is more of an experience than a film. Based on the book 'Entre Les Murs' by teacher François Bégaudeau who also wrote the screenplay and stars in the film as the unique teacher François Marin, this thoughtful and challenging story is presented in a style that could only be termed 'French verismo'. If it feels like a documentary for the first part, that is to the credit of the author and the director Laurent Cantet: we, the viewers are taken into the classroom where the majority of the film takes place, lingering there through discussions between teacher and the varied ethnic group of students who challenge (with good thought) the teaching techniques and subjects of discussion in Marin's days of attempting to 'educate' a somewhat reluctant audience. The subject of the course may be French, but the incongruities of language spread into areas of conflict of the meaning of words and the 'out of date' subjects of grammar that occupy Marin's course outline.

    Another fascinating aspect of this film about education in schools populated by 'difficult students' is the use of the device of entr'acte - diversions from the classroom into the teachers' lounge where we learn even more about the education and varied sociological systems and age and experience differences among the faculty influence that is at the core of this film. It all sounds and seems so extemporaneous that it makes the messages conveyed all the more powerful. Many will find this film too 'talky': there are almost no excursions outside the school and certainly no 'sidebars' to show the extracurricular lives of the mixed group of well drawn and acted students. The story unfolds slowly, like a conversation, and is offered by a set of actors who disappear completely into their roles. This is one of the few 'classroom films' that elects to inform rather than to preach and features a teacher who is as fallible as the students. Many lessons are here in this Class.

    Grady Harp

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2009

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews