Boy A

Entre les murs (The Class)

(This movie is in French with English subtitles)

Laurent Cantet, whose 2005 film Vers le Sud met with critical acclaim, triumphantly returns with Entre les Murs (The Class), an epic study of the everyday that won the coveted Palme d'Or at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival. Entre les Murs is adapted from a book by Parisian teacher and writer François Bégaudeau, who not only wrote the scenario for the film based on his teaching experiences, but also stars as the teacher to a group of fourteen-year-olds. The entire film is set within the confines of a school, and fascinatingly features real students and teachers (all of the students actually study together in the same class, though not in the school depicted in the film).

The premise is simple: Cantet, working with Bégaudeau and his students, held workshops with them to prepare for the film. Then, over the course of the year, three cameras followed the teacher and his pupils. The result is extraordinary. Never reaching for spectacle or melodrama, the director quietly observes the classroom setting and hits several pitch-perfect notes at once, mining the teacher-student relationship, the contemporary education system and the dynamics among the diverse and charismatic students.

Entre les Murs is a one-of-a-kind piece of filmmaking. Not a documentary in the strict sense of the term, the film indirectly explores the richly complex socio-political terrain of contemporary times by observing young teenagers move through a school year. In doing so, Cantet never employs some of the more obvious trappings of films like Dead Poets Society, opting instead to let the characters and their daily lives unfold before the camera in such a way that even the smallest moments become a revelation.

Running Time
128 minutes
14 A
Release to VHS and DVD: August 11, 2009

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Cannes Film Festival Winner: Palme D'Or

European Film Festival Nomination: Best Film

European Film Festival Nomination Best Director - Laurent Cantet

Independent Spirit Award Nomination: Best Foreign Film

Satellite Awards Nomination: Best Foreign Film

The Critics Comment

An artful, intelligent movie about modern French identity and the attempt to transform those bodies into citizens through talk, talk, talk.
New York Times, Manohla Dargis

Place The Class on your must-see list and keep it there until you do.
New York Observer, Andrew Sarris

A highly dramatic and candid look at the challenges facing a nation that prides itself on its egalitarianism yet is now being confronted with a multi-ethnic citizenry that does not always embrace its hallowed traditions.
Hollywood Reporter, Kirk Honeycutt

Talky in the best sense, the film exhilarates with its lively, authentic classroom banter while its emotional undercurrents build steadily but almost imperceptibly over a swift 129 minutes.
Variety, Justin Chang

An austere but acutely observed drama with a quasi-documentary style, Entre les Murs impresses with its veracious tone and nuanced characterizations.
Boyd van Hoeij, European-

Probably the year's best film, Laurent Cantet's film is a work of jaw-dropping intelligence, humanity and the most subtle cinematic bravura.
Film Journal International, David Noh

The Class is a true movie miracle: fragile yet indelible.
New York Magazine, David Edelstein

Related Links

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