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Running Time:
2 hours, 8 minutes

Rating: PG-13 Parents Strongly Cautioned.

Rating Explanation:
for language.

Jimmy's Buzz Guide Review:
This exhilerating French film about life in today's classrooms tells a compelling, quietly moving and consistently true-to-life story.

Additional Info:
DVD Features:

Making-of featurette; Commentary on select scenes

The Class
This exhilerating French film is an adaptation of Francois Begaudeau's 2006 novel documenting a year in the life of a multicultural French classroom in the suburbs of Paris. Director Laurent Cantet ("Human Resources") used Begaudeau himself to play the teacher Francois Marin, a handsome, charismatic thirtysomething whose playful, bristling approach, complete with sardonic humor and often genuine exasperation seems to be the perfect way of dealing with a classroom of often unruly and inattentive teenage students.

While the class has its share of well-behaved pupils like Asian immigrant Wei (Wei Huang), who speaks assuredly despite his less-than-perfect French, it's the troublemakers who leave the most vivid impression. And there are plenty of them including Esmeralda (Esmeralda Ouertani), with her impudent tone; moody Khoumba (Rachel Regulier), who comes to resent what she perceives as Francois' grudge against her; and, most volatile of all, rebellious Souleymane (Franck Keita), the angry son of Malian immigrants who seems unable, or unwilling, to connect to anyone around him.

The film reaches its climax when Marin's job is threatened by some heated remarks he made to some of his female students, and the faculty must decide whether Souleymane can stay in school, but there's no kind of false conclusion or melodrama as in so many of Hollywood dramas with similar themes. The message in the end is that there is no message; people do their best, win some and lose some, and after a summer break, it starts all over again.  Though The Class tackles some specifically French ideas of race and identity and education, this is a universal story with intelligent insights into life in today's classrooms.

The Class with Fran�ois Begaudeau: DVD Cover

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