Our annual screening in association with the Abingdon and District Twin Towns Society

A “thoroughly modern and thoughtful portrait of a rowdy and adorable class of multi-ethnic Parisian teenagers over one school year” (Dave Calhoun, Time Out).

This film won the Palme d’Or at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival and, in 2009, a César for Best Writing – Adaptation. (Cert 15)
Dir: Laurent Cantet 124 mins France 2008

This screening is additional to the main programme. Admission is £5.00 which includes food and soft drinks. You may bring your own wine. Please note that the start time is 7.15 pm.

Programme Notes

Thursday, 22 April 2010


France 2009 124 minutes Cert. 15

We welcome the Abingdon and District Twin Towns Society to our annual joint screening event of this interesting film, The Class, which is based on the autobiographical novel by François Bégaudeau entitled ‘Entre Les Murs’. Bégaudeau is a novelist and teacher, and the multiracial picture he draws of life in a Parisian suburban school may be easily recognised by teachers, students and parents across the multicultural western world.

The film is made in documentary style, with only Bégaudeau playing ‘himself’ as Monsieur Marin. Although the students use their real names, they develop their characters through improvisation and are not portraying themselves. The result is that of a highly credible representation of the strains and challenges of education for the secondary sector, where the relevance of grammatical theory is pulled sharply into focus by the students. At times the classroom battles between student and teacher and student with student become melodramatic and uncomfortable for both the actors and the viewer. The film has the feel of authenticity, as the behaviour and language of the students is that which they would use in ‘real life’.

“The very least you can say about this rich, stimulating film is that it has the zest of actuality that you get in the best documentaries, and only rarely in fictions that aspire to documentary urgency … you could show this film in Hackney, Brooklyn, Shanghai or Baghdad and it would have much the same currency.” Jonathan Romney, The Independent on Sunday.

François Marin – François Bégaudeau
Esmeralda – Esmeralda Ouertani
Angélica – Angélica Sancio
Agame – Agame Malembo-Emene
Boubacar – Boubacar Toure

Director – Laurent Cantet
Screenplay – François Bégaudeau, Laurent Cantet, Robin Campillo
Cinematography – Pierre Milon
Producers – Simon Arnal, Caroline Benjo, Barbara Letellier, Carole Scotta


“Great advertisement for teaching [but] I’m disappointed the teacher did not say exactly what he did say [to Esmeralda] – at least he should have attended the hearing and should have been disciplined!”

“Who would be a teacher? ‘Fings ain’t wot they used to be!’”

“An exhausting profession!”

“They really earn their salaries – what a jungle!”

“The teachers and students were too tame and mild mannered to be considered realistic, from what I remember at school!”

“I liked this film but those were some rather mature kids!”

“The film had its moments but its length made it far too demanding to take everything in.”

“Well, France is also noted for its Revolution.”


A:9, B:13, C:3, D:0, E:0 to give 81%