Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Class (2008)

The Class was fantastic. A slice of life film, The Class has been described as part fiction, part documentary. Apparently, actors in the traditional sense were not used. Rather, all the characters in the film are versions of their real life counterparts.

The film focuses on one year in the classroom of a tough Paris nieghborhood. The personalities of the students are incredibly diverse and real. And the teacher, played by François Bégaudeau, is not some bleeding heart idealist trying to save the world by teaching the children. He's a real man - doing his best and making mistakes. Plot wise, the stories are slightly episodic and not every character gets a true conclusion. It is, as I'd imagine, reflective of life as a teacher. Students come in, you do your best, and then they're gone, perhaps never to be heard from again. What happens to them beyond your classroom is out of your control and often completely unknown.

This movie has a lot of charm and, as with most foregin language films I enjoy, I only wish I could watch it without subtitles. It's often clear that more is being said than what subtitles are able to translate. However, these subtitles were well done, navigating the complications of translating what's being said in a French class.

I'd recommend this film to anyone, although as is evidnced by the Netflix viewer comments, not everyone will enjoy it. It's a well made, unqiue film and I'm very pleased to have seen it. It's available to watch instantly on Netflix - by the way.

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