Tuesday, December 22, 2009
The Class is a snapshot, a "day in the life" movie stretched out to a year long glimpse into the racially, ethnically and socially diverse classroom in urban Paris.
The most interesting part about this film is that it is based on a book of real life experiences, and the author plays himself in the film. Although semi-autobiographical, it in no way glosses over the struggles, frustration and poor choices that he makes as he tries to reach, and teach, these kids.
I did enjoy the shooting style. It was filmed with three cameras shooting constantly, one on the teacher, one on the speaking student and another to catch impromptu shots. This allows for a very free-flowing dialogue that could not be scripted, especially with the real students playing themselves and having no prior acting experience.
The camera creates a very small, cramped feeling. You almost feel like you are squeezed into one of those tiny desks in the corner, watching the story unfold.
I say "story" loosely, I kept waiting for the movie to tighten up and focus on a few characters who will triumph over all odds and pass the big test at the end. This never happens. Although it meant for a very slow first 2/3 of the movie, I still appreciated the glimpse into a school and society that I would have never known otherwise.
ME: I can see why Cannes liked it, and I appreciated most aspects of it, but if you are looking for a traditional 3-act story with an uplifting ending.... you'll be dissapointed.