The tense environment of a tough inner-city school where cultures and attitudes often clash is revealed in this award-winning drama based on François Bégaudeau’s best-selling novel Between the Walls. Bégaudeau himself stars as an idealistic teacher of a class of unruly 15 year-olds, whose spiky independence present constant challenges to his sometimes unconventional teaching methods. Featuring an outstanding non-professional cast of real teachers and students, Laurent Cantet’s gripping and sharply observed film offers a microcosm of contemporary society and explores the difficult issues facing education today.
2008 – Certificate: 15 – French Film
Rating Details: Strong Language
7 out of 10
I worked from home today. Despite not having nearly enough space to do so, I quite enjoy it as it allows me to work in just my underpants (the pair I was wearing the day before of course) and indulge my anti-social tendencies by not going out or seeing anyone. Today I did have to speak to people on the phone a lot, but that’s not as bad as actually having to speak to anyone face-to-face. For my dinner tonight I had some weird concoction that included tinned tomatoes, rice and tofu. To further indulge my anti-social tendencies, I do most of my food shopping online. Last time, due to an apparent world shortage of cheap, brown rice, I was gifted by Waitrose with a bag of basmati rice with added wild rice; (for the same price as the cheap rubbish I’d ordered). I’ve never eaten wild rice before, mainly because it’s about a million pounds a bag. After eating it tonight, I was left wondering how many people are willing to spend twice as much on a bag of rice as they need to, simply because it’s got a few ‘black bits’ in it. Taste-wise it didn’t seem to add anything, but I guess if you’re stupid, vein and rich, you can pander to your rice fantasies whenever you like. Finally, to indulge my anti-social tendencies still further, my meal tonight included two whole garlic bulbs. That’s a lot of garlic; and this film is French.
This is a movie that’s looks very much like a documentary. It features the staff and pupils at an inner city school in Paris and focuses on one particular teacher and his class, over the course of a year. Most of the time is spent in the classroom, watching him teaching them. Yep, that’s pretty much it; for over two hours. The teenagers act like real teenagers; sometimes they’re good and sometimes they’re bad. The teacher acts like a teacher; he gets some stuff right and some stuff wrong. Strangely, it’s all rather watchable, but I really have no idea why. Perhaps it’s the almost constant mental combat that’s going on in the classroom that makes it so absorbing? However, it has reminded me of just what a hard job teaching can be.
Music? There isn’t any. At all.
Recommended for teachers and school age teenagers. Game on!
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? This is a film about one man who thinks he can ‘make a difference’. He’s got no superpowers or cool gadgets, or a perfect physique. He does however do battle on a daily basis, with a horde of confrontational, argumentative and troubled teenagers. He’s a teacher. That’s badass.