Wednesday, February 11, 2009
A Classy Retraction...
As some of you know, I was unimpressed, after first viewing, with the critically acclaimed French film, The Class. However, in doing some reading, I've decided to explain my initial response and look at other reactions to the film. I was excited by the idea of The Class. I've worked in high school classrooms in Los Angeles for years and while I frequently cite Sam Jackson's 187 as my favorite "teacher" film, after the first 30 minutes, Jackson's dark turn isn't really 100% realistic
. So, The Class stars a real teacher and real students, which is cool, and the first hour really does feel like a realistic classroom. The teacher struggles...he doesn't completely inspire the students and turn them into Rhodes Scholars overnight, and this is refreshing. I saw the movie with a friend who teaches in LAUSD, and we both felt like we spent 2 hours of our weekend at work. Which is not entirely enjoyable for us...but IS successful for the film. So I regret telling people I didn't like it. I think the representation of education is, very probably, the most accurate on film...even beyond documentaries, during which the classroom setting is not accurately represented because students behave differently when there's a camera on them. My other, and still major, problem with The Class, is a grossly implausible (sad after such a strong beginning) situation that sets up the "climax" of the film. I don't want to "spoil" anything, but it involves students being deliberately exposed to information they would never have access to in any real school...and it disappointed me. All of this said, I am very interested to hear the opinions of non-teachers and non-professional-critics. So share with me si'l vous plait.