The Class | Chicago Reader

The Class

The first French film in decades to have won the Palme d'Or at Cannes, this involving drama by Laurent Cantet (Heading South, Time Out) turns an inner-city classroom into a cultural battleground. Francois Begaudeau, who drew on his own teaching experiences for the source novel, Entre les Murs ("Between the Walls"), stars as the teacher, and Cantet has assembled a crew of real kids to insult and challenge him; among the most aggressive are the sneering Esmerelda and Khoumba, who succeed in turning the class against him. The teacher's lounge is another gallery of fine performances, as Begaudeau's colleagues vent their despair and desperation. Most impressive, Cantet tracks the racial and ethnic resentments that simmer beneath the classroom discussions but become harder to quell when the parents get involved. In French with subtitles.



  • Laurent Cantet


  • François Bégaudeau
  • Esmeralda Ouertani
  • Rachel Regulier
  • Franck Keita
  • Wei Huang


  • François Bégaudeau
  • Robin Campillo
  • Laurent Cantet


  • Barbara Letellier
  • Caroline Benjo
  • Carole Scotta
  • Simon Arnal

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