Entre les murs


Entre les murs (France, 2008)

Seen: Monday, 10th November (cinema)
Runtime: 128′
Release Date: 24th October in Poland, September in France and October in most of Europe (USA as usual does not like French films and will only have a limited release in January ;-P)
Polish Distributor: SPInka
Director: Laurent Cantet
Cast: François Bégaudeau
Production House: Haut et Court
Plot: (from imdb)

Teacher and novelist François Bégaudeau plays a version of himself as he negotiates a year with his racially mixed students from a tough Parisian neighborhood.


Impressions In Short
It kind of grows on you as you’re watching and yet it left me cold… Couldn’t help comparing it to the Estonian Klass, which I liked much better… Though they’re very different films (Entre les murs doesn’t deal with bullying at all).

Some Details
I guess one of the big differences between this and Klass (both are films with a strong focus on classroom dynamics) is that this is told from the perspective of the teacher. It’s not just about what happens in the classroom, but also about what happens in the staff room. When it comes to classroom dynamics, it’s the dynamics between teacher and class that are much more fleshed out, dynamics between class members are sometimes even a bit difficult to make out.
Also, unlike Klass, Entre les murs is quite far from Polish reality. A lot of it is racial, immigration and ethnic issues - something that isn’t much of an issue in Polish schools.
It is undoubtedly a good film and it kind of eventually pulls you in by the level of detail in the class-teacher relationship, but I felt this was somehow a foreign and distant reality.
Interestingly enough my mum (an English teacher at a Polish high school) also preferred Klass (and also automatically started comparing the two films).
On a random, but related note (the teacher in Entre let murs had to deal with such issues too ;-P) my mum got a great question from a girl at school today - “you mean I have to learn the vocabulary by heart? why?”.

Er… well maybe… perhaps if you like French films or films with an improvised feel to them. Otherwise not necessarily… maybe if you have very specific motives for seeing it (I saw it because of the Palm D’Or for example).

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