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Entre les murs (Collection Folio (Gallimard))

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This dialogue consists in sharing the pieces of truth that every single individual, students and teachers alike, have gathered in their lives. The film, with its limited budget, its cast of unknowns and its delicate handling of challenging themes, was not expected to be a major success.

Marin encounters his share of problem students, teen violence, ethnic tensions between classmates and education barriers within the group, all of which test his patience and -- more importantly -- his resolve as an educator. The comparison is legitimate but a bit weak, mostly because The Class focuses less on the Greeek tragedy structure typical of school-set dramas. Neither side gives ground, and yet the fact that François has to argue it out on the asphalt, on equal terms, is a kind of humbling, a swallowing of pride.

The English-language version of Entre les murs was published in April 2009 by Seven Stories Press under the title The Class. Rabah Nait Oufella, one of the French students from the film The Class, which won a Palme d'Or at Cannes film festival last year. The trickiest member of the class is Souleymane (Franck Keita), a boy from Mali with family problems and a temper. His class of 14- to 15-year-old kids in the film is made up of non-professionals, and their unobtrusively superb and authentic classroom scenes have evidently been devised through improvisation.

Education is a dialogue between equals, in which the professor is obligated to lower himself to the intellectual level of his students, "lower" not in the sense of superiority, but of capacity and experience. Here, we have the true testimony of a person that realizes the weight of his social role as an educator (and, therefore, as a transmitter of values) and attempts to create awareness of such relevant worldwide issue through a novel and now a film. This one remark sends a shockwave through the movie; resulting in disciplinary action against one of Marin's students, and much tongue-tied babbling from the teacher as he tries to talk himself out of the hole he has dug for himself. However, education is not just about learning the very basics to get through life, but also about opening up horizons and giving you opportunities.For the 5th part of our series about teachers in movies, I wanted to explore another French film, the 2008 film “ Entre les murs ” / “The Class”.

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