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I suspect every teacher has wondered if she/he be able to get the kids attention by pointing a gun at them. Having spent some time teaching I can really emphasize with Sonia Bergerac in this film. I loved the part where she starts to actually teach the lesson on Moliere and uses the gun to force an unruly student to cooperate. Of course real education can't function like that, but its probably a fantasy of many teachers.
The film contains quite a bit of irony, and random chaos. I don't wish to give away too much of the story, other than to say taking the students hostage was accidental, and once she had started she was completely unable to figure out how to get out of the situation. The film has a very claustrophobic feel to it. They are trapped in a small little drama while outside larger dramas unfold including political issues, debates about how the crisis should be handed by the police, dispute between cultures, and sexual exploitation of some students. But Sonia and her class are locked within a small sound proof room.
Isabelle Adjani once again demonstrates that she is a extraordinary actress who is entirely convincing in her role. Vulnerable at times, and scary in the next moment.
The film has comic moments such as her demand for a national skirt day, but is largely dramatic and tragic in its tone. The film explores the clash of cultures, prejudice, and the real meaning of sexual liberation.
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