Since his 1999 directorial debut, Ressources Humaines (Human Resources), a heartfelt portrayal of class divisions in contemporary France, Laurent Cantet has been making the kind of hyper-realistic, character-driven films that festivals often overlook in favor of edgier exercises in style. Well, no longer. Cantets newest film, Entre les Murs (The Class), won the Palm DOr, AKA the European Oscar for best film, at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival. Cantet takes the classroom drama genre head-on in telling the story of François Marin (played by real-life teacher and novelist François Bégaudeau), a young, ambitious instructor in a tough school. Sound a little too familiar? If youre expecting Dangerous Minds, youve come to the wrong place. As the son of schoolteachers, Cantet knows what hes talking about. The Baltimore Sun says the movie is unlike any English or American film about teaching ever made. Taken together with other recent education masterpieces 2006s Half-Nelson and season four of The Wire Entre les Murs represents a new artistic understanding of the complexities of secondary education.
Fri., May 22, 8:30 p.m.; Sat., May 23, 8:30 p.m., 2009