Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Class (Laurent Cantet, 2008)

*****
France



High school was like this. Exactly like this. Seemingly it still is: barely ever pleasant, or productive, or un-mind-numbing, or unexhausting.

Laurent Cantet doesn’t present you with any people or places that you don’t already know or that you care to revisit. And yet, the children are hypnotic, the tensions are vital, and the dynamics electrifying.

No one in the cast of mostly underage non-actors exhibits a glimmer of awareness of there being a camera in the room and the situations seem to develop day by day, spontaneously, so you don’t notice a plot until one’s just about wrapped. Purely as an achievement in logistics, it’s staggering; and as a piece of cinema – vibrant, exhilarating.

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1 Comments:

At 10:37 PM , Blogger Paul Martin said...

I wasn't as impressed by this as I was by Cantent's Time Out - it's not as emotionally engaging. But it's dramatically effective and authentic, depicting both a universality (of certain classroom demographics) and a cultural uniqueness (compare the school procedures with ours).

 

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