The Class (Sony)
Through three features (Human Resources, Time Out, Heading South), French director Laurent Cantet is an astute chronicler of socially relevant character studies. For The Class, Cantet enters a Parisian classroom to chronicle one teacher’s attempts to get through to his inner-city students. An actual teacher, Francois Bégaudeau–on whose book The Class is based–plays a fictionalized version of himself, as do other adults and students. Closely resembling a documentary, the film is an ultra-realistic exploration of the shifting of morals and mores in French culture. Regrettably missing is a personalizing of these people, since we only see them at school–still, The Class is another finely-detailed film from a first-rate director. This isn’t a disc to show off the wonders of Blu-ray technology, but its documentary-like photography looks very good, which adds another layer of “reality” to the film. Although Sony doesn’t duplicate the absolutely loaded French release, for a foreign film on Blu-ray, the extras are terrific: along with the making-of featurette and scene commentary by Cantet and Bégaudeau, there are two exclusive Blu-ray bonuses—an Actors’ Workshop and Actors’ Self-Portraits, which give insight into the excellent amateur performers playing the students.
originally posted on timessquare.com