At a Montréal public grade school, an Algerian immigrant is hired to replace a popular teacher who committed suicide in her classroom. While helping his students deal with their grief, his own recent loss is revealed.
The 35-hour work week has all of France in its thrall. This film turns it into a feature about economic and familial politics. Frank, a business school graduate, returns to his provincial ... See full summary »
Georges and Anne are an octogenarian couple. They are cultivated, retired music teachers. Their daughter, also a musician, lives in Britain with her family. One day, Anne has a stroke, and the couple's bond of love is severely tested.
Teacher François Marin and his colleagues are preparing for another school year teaching at a racially mixed inner city high school in Paris. The teachers talk to each other about their prospective students, both the good and the bad. The teachers collectively want to inspire their students, but each teacher is an individual who will do things in his or her own way to achieve the results they desire. They also have differing viewpoints on the students themselves, and how best to praise and discipline them. The administration of the school tries to be as fair as possible, which includes having student representatives sit on the student evaluation committee. Marin's class this year of fourteen and fifteen year olds is no different than previous years, although the names and faces have changed. Marin tries to get through to his students, sometimes with success and sometimes resulting in utter failure. Even Marin has his breaking point, which may result in him doing things he would ... Written by
It's very rare, indeed, when I'm at a staggering loss for words. Words are my business having owned and directed my own language schools for over 35 years. But when I sat down to write this, immediately after viewing "The Class", my unmitigated ire and unbridled outrage only produced that most dreaded of conditions, anathema to all reviewers: Writer's Block! Several hours later, my blood having assuaged itself from boiling to simmer, I find myself, once again, anxious to share my impressions of this undeniably unique French film with you.
"Class" refuses to be pigeon-holed. Perhaps a Documentary-Drama fusion, but not really a Docudrama, either. More akin to reality TV, only better! "Class" will certainly affect different people in strikingly different ways. How do middle-school teachers around the world maintain their grip on sanity and reality? I felt myself sliding down the slippery slope from just observing these French* kids flaunt their world-class insolence! But whatever your reaction to them, chances are "Class" will get to you like running your fingernails along a blackboard!
Did you notice the asterisk on French* kids? Surprisingly, this inner-city French classroom was a veritable rainbow coalition: Africans, Caribbean Franco-Africans, Arabs, Eastern Europeans, a couple Hispanics and Chinese. Oh yes, and even some Gauls, born and raised! My spoken French is decrepit, but my ear is still fairly well-tuned and a myriad of different accents were very easy to discern, a few of them rendered somewhat haltingly. Encountering harmony and a real-time teaching classroom dynamic under these conditions pose a daunting challenge, to say the least.
The problem resides in that 9th graders around the world are keenly aware of who REALLY is in control in the classroom. They are! More often than not, their classroom comportment is an unabated and blatant non-stop provocation of whoever is teaching them. But God forbid should that teacher lapse into a single moment of normal human reaction to such constant torment! The unspoken undercurrent that is dissolving the foundations of education around the world is only too self-evident in this "Class". Just a few accusatory words from any student could instantly vaporize the career of any teacher. Francois, the real-life teacher exhibiting patience that would make Job look bi-polar in comparison, manages to defy expectation and give us an unprecedented surprise ending; apparently there IS something that most students still fear! Recommended to all teachers and anyone interested in the teaching process. 10*.....ENJOY/DISFRUTELA!
Any comments, questions or observations, in English or Español, are most welcome!
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