Entre les Murs/The Class [videorecording]

| January 23, 2011

Title: Entre les murs [videorecording] = The class

Director: Laurent Cantet

Produced by: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, 2009

Check It Out: PN1997.2 .C53 2009 DVD

From the Production Company: François and his fellow teachers prepare for a new year at a high school in a tough neighbourhood. Armed with the best intentions, they brace themselves to not let discouragement stop them from trying to give the best education to their students.

Cultures and attitudes often clash in the classroom, a microcosm of contemporary France. As amusing and inspiring as the teenaged students can be, their difficult behaviour can still jeopardise any teacher’s enthusiasm for the low-paying job. François insists on an atmosphere of respect and diligence. Neither stuffy nor severe, his extravagant frankness often takes the students by surprise. But his classroom ethics are put to the test when his students begin to challenge his methods…

From the Director: Just before making Vers le sud (Heading South), I came up with the idea of doing a film about life in a junior high school. Very quickly, the project defined itself to never leave the establishment’s enclosure. At the time, more and more people were speaking about making a ‘sanctuary’ of schools. I wanted to show the opposite: a sounding board, a place affected by all the turbulences of the world, a microcosm of the world, where issues of equality or inequality – in regards to opportunity, work and power, cultural and social integration and exclusion, play out concretely. Of note, I had developed a scene about disciplinary counseling, which I saw as a kind of junior high ‘black box’. At the time of Heading South’s release, I met François who was presenting his new book, Entre les murs (Between The Walls) at that time. His discourse was a counterattack to the indictment on today’s schools: for once, a professor was not writing in order to get back at adolescents presented as savages or idiots. I read the book, and I immediately had the feeling that it would add to my initial project in two ways: first, material, the documentary support it needed, and which I set off to create myself by going to spend some time in a junior high school. Secondly, I was inspired by the character of François, by his direct relationship with his students. He summarized and incarnated the different aspects of teachers that I had first imagined.

On the Web:

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