The Class (Entre les murs) - lippy pupils Esmerelda (Esmerelda Ouertani) & Khoumba (Rachel Regulier)

This truly inspirational documentary-style drama from France left me reeling with awe and admiration. I taught English for a couple of years in my early 20s while living in Italy and I’m all too aware how cushy was my time as a teacher. It certainly can’t compare with the experiences of François Bégaudeau, the former teacher whose book chronicling a year in the life of a class in a middle school in inner-city Paris is the basis of Laurent Cantet’s wonderful film, The Class.

Bégaudeau himself plays the class’s committed teacher, and a multi-ethnic cast of non-professional teenagers makes up his tough, lippy, all too vulnerable pupils. Nominated as Best Foreign Film at this year’s Oscars, the film was a very worthy winner of the Cannes film festival’s top award last year, the Palme d’Or. (General release from 27th February)

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