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The Class(Entre les murs)

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France · 2008
Rated PG-13 · 2h 8m
Director Laurent Cantet
Starring François Bégaudeau, Franck Keïta, Louise Grinberg, Rabah Nait Oufella
Genre Drama

Based on his real life, François Bégaudeau stars as an instructor of French language and literature at an inner-city, multicultural Parisian high school. In the new school year, François must manage a classroom full of racial tension, violence, and defiance, all of which test his resolve as a teacher.

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What are people saying?

Jamie Bitz Profile picture for Jamie Bitz

Although François Bégaudeau's performance falls a bit flat as he is no professional actor, the reality of the story still shines through. Based on Bégaudeau's real life, I admire his courage in being unafraid to make himself the bad guy. While it's definitely not a "feel-good" film, it's worth the watch for those up for a challenge.

Cyrus Berger Profile picture for Cyrus Berger

This movie really wasn't what I was expecting, and, even though it could be a difficult watch, I admired how bold and realistic it was. Going in, I had expected this to be more uplifting, but the approach the movie takes is much more interesting, showing a deeply flawed system and refusing to make its main character heroic.

What are critics saying?


Village Voice by

For anyone who loves language, this cut-and-thrust is a heady delight, so rich and free-flowing in its rhythms that it's hard to decide whether what we're seeing is a vérité-style documentary or a realist drama.


The New Yorker by David Denby

I would be surprised if this brilliant and touching film didn't become required viewing for teachers all over the United States. Everyone else should see it as well--it's a wonderful movie.


Variety by Justin Chang

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. One of the most substantive and purely entertaining movies in competition at Cannes this year.


Los Angeles Times by Kenneth Turan

The reality of François' classroom is so intense that it holds our interest even while the film's dramatic focus is building so quietly under the surface that we don't notice it at first.


The New York Times by Manohla Dargis

Here Mr. Cantet -- whose earlier features include "Human Resources" and "Time Out," two other dramas about systems of power -- has done that rarest of things in movies about children: He has allowed them to talk.


Time by Richard Schickel

It is hard to think of another film more tightly autobiographical than this one. It's even harder to think of other films that build so gripping a narrative out of a string of comparatively minor and disparate incidents.


The A.V. Club by Scott Tobias

The beauty of The Class is that it puts the lie to the one-teacher-can-make-a-difference myth propagated by so many other films.


Salon by Stephanie Zacharek

The Class is a lovely, exhilarating work about the ways in which failure and frustration can open the pathways through which we make sense out of life.

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