Monday, January 11, 2010

The Class

Movie: The Class
Like/Don't Like: Loved

I'm going to give you a heads up on this one because I was slightly confused until I finished the movie and watched the special features. It looks like a documentary about a middle school French class in a rough Paris neighborhood. It is not. It's a fictitious movie about a middle school French class in a rough Paris neighborhood. But it's not a traditional movie either. It doesn't use professional actors and most of it is improvised. Which gives it an eerily real vibe.

Francois Begaudeau wrote a novel about his time teaching at a middle school and then made it into a movie using real students who had gone through an improve class. There was a script but a big chunk of the action was made up by the kids. Which was fascinating because you really see that teenagers are exactly the same no matter where in the world they are. When I worked for a school district I had to go to a few middle school and high school classes and the only difference between those classes and the class in the movie was the language. But even that wasn't much of a difference because teenagers speak the same way too. There are the mumblers who are trying to make excuses for not doing their work, and the girls who can't control their volume when they're excited, and the shy smart kids who speak clearly and directly when spoken too.

You also get to see teachers who face problems like cultural and generational differences, and social and moral issues such as how much should a teacher interfere in a student's home life and where is the line between loving educator and strict disciplinarian. It makes you realize that teaching young minds is a universally tricky business.

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