The Class

Year: 2008
Production Co: Haut et Court
Director: Laurent Cantet
Writer: Laurent Cantet
Cast: Francois Bégaudeau

The thinking behind the Palme d'Or is even harder to work out than that of the Best Picture Oscar, and the movies that win it are frequently boring European dramas with a strong idea but a drying paint approach to pacing.

The only such edgy hook I could identify in this film was the racial melting pot angle as a French high school teacher exercises infinite patience and care keeping a classroom full of disinterested teenagers in line.

But there's no Dead Poets Society redemption with sweeping orchestral scores full of triumph and hope, it's just a normal guy trying to do his job and taking it seriously enough to make us care.

The naturalism of the acting and direction makes it feel almost like a documentary and for the first half hour you'll just find yourself settling into this world with these people before the emotional fireworks start up. When they do it's honest, forthright and natural - maybe that's what the Cannes jury were awarding.

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