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The Class [DVD]

  • PG-13
  • DVD
  • 1 disc
  • Region 1 USA/CA (info)
  • Winner of the Palme d'Or at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival, master French director Laurent Cantet's THE CLASS is an absorbing journey into a multicultural high school in Paris over the course of a school year. Franois Begaudeau--an actual teacher and the author upon whose work the film was based--is utterly convincing as Franois, an openminded teacher in charge of a classroom of youngsters from a wide variety of backgrounds. Of course, the mere fact that he's older and in a position of authority causes his students to challenge him on many occasions. Franois is stuck in the middle. In the teacher conferences, he butts heads with the harsher adults who don't appear to have any sympathy for their students. In class, his attempts to be lenient and understanding are somehow misinterpreted and he finds himself arguing with the kids that he so clearly wants to help. As the school year progresses, tensions rise, until Franois finds himself in a position he never imagined he'd be in.

    Unlike his more formally written early films like HUMAN RESOURCES and TIME OUT, Cantet proves that he has an ability to work in a more improvisational manner. Shooting on HD and working with a cast of young non-actors, he allows THE CLASS to breathe, resulting in a fictional drama that has the spirit and energy of a documentary. His startlingly assured ensemble brings the new, culturally diverse France of the early 21st century to striking life.

    Cannes Palme d'Or 2008

    Read More...
    • Rating - for language
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): SPE28753

  • Credits
    Olivier Dupeyron, Laura Baquela, Dalla Doucoure, Patrick Dureuil, Cherif Bounaidja Rachedi, Vincent Caire, Arthur Fogel, Nassim Amrabt, Franois Begaudeau, Juliette Demaille
  • Critic Reviews
    5 stars out of 5 -- "[I]t's a fantastic example of vrit filmmaking that gains much of its power from its verisimilitude....In mesmerizing fashion, Cantet and Bgaudeau have molded material taken from reality into a resonant work of art."
    Box Office

    "The greatest pleasure in THE CLASS is seeing an actual teacher -- a skilled, creative teacher -- at work....Cantet orchestrates the myriad conflicts that arise within and among everyone involved with intelligence and subtlety. THE CLASS is thoroughly absorbing from beginning to end."
    Film Comment

    Included in Entertainment Weekly's 2008 Films Of The Year -- "THE CLASS becomes the most revealing inspirational-teacher film ever made, a moving and memorable look at what knowledge really is."
    Entertainment Weekly

    "[A] thought-provoking film. Told in a quasi-documentary style, THE CLASS is tightly focused on the struggles, squabbles and occasional triumphs of a Parisian high school teacher and his ethnically diverse class."
    USA Today

    "THE CLASS is one of the most alive and engrossing movies ever to take on the rich, infinitely renewable topic of school-as-life, and make it feel real. Unscripted. And above all, honest." -- Grade: A
    Entertainment Weekly

    4 stars out of 4 -- "It is about the power struggle between a teacher who wants to do good and students who disagree about what 'good' is."
    Chicago Sun-Times

    "If the movie looks like a documentary, it feels like what it is: a powerful work that mixes fact and fiction in the service of truth."
    Wall Street Journal

    4 stars out of 5 -- "[The film] feels effortlessly convincing....Not since Bertrand Tavernier's 1999 CA COMMENCE AUJOURD'HUI have we seen a school this real on screen."
    Total Film

    4 stars out of 5 -- "The debuting Begaudeau ably captures the enthusiasm and discomfort of an idealist....The resulting stand-offs are tense, amusing and never anything less than authentic."
    Empire

    Included in Chicago Sun-Times's "The Best Foreign Films Of 2009" -- "[THE CLASS acheives] an uncanny spontaneity and realism."
    Chicago Sun-Times

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