Rated PG-13 · 129 minutes · 2008

An extremely difficult and artful film, The Class depicts a year in the life of a ninth-grade classroom in a low-rent part of Paris. The actors who play the students are surprisingly natural, and they look like human beings, which really sets them apart from the beauty-borgs you see in American teen dramas. The film, though, is relentlessly tense, thanks to claustrophobic close-ups, cross-talk and a combative attitude from both the students and the teachers. The classroom feels as though it’s constantly on the edge of an explosion, not unlike a real ninth-grade classroom. Toward the end, there is a bit of blow-up, but it’s not as bad as the buildup implied, so a residual tension drifts through the remainder of the film until, in a devastating final scene, one girl who hadn’t spoken before gives away the grim secret of schooling. On the whole, The Class is tough to watch, but impressive in its construction.

See our full review: Tense Schooling

Tense Schooling

'The Class' is a well-done and extremely uncomfortable piece of art »

Director: Laurent Cantet
Writer: François Bégaudeau, Robin Campillo and Laurent Cantet
Producer: Barbara Letellier, Caroline Benjo, Carole Scotta and Simon Arnal
Cast: François Bégaudeau, Esmeralda Ouertani, Rachel Regulier, Franck Keita and Wei Huang


The Class


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Portland Mercury Le Paradis de Gangsters The Class is the best movie about a classroom ever made. by Alison Hallett 02/26/2009

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