Seb Cooke

Back to school

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I found Laurent Cantet's film The Class a compelling and uncomfortable drama (Film, Socialist Review, March 2009), but the film's review last month was quite patronising and lazy.

The film portrays many of the students as victims of racism, with the teacher pressured into accepting his role as an accomplice to a system that sets many up to fail. This is highlighted beautifully when one child who has been recently expelled from another school enters his new classroom and is simply ushered in like a discarded piece of machinery. The silence is painful as he sits. You can feel his burning rage as he is humiliated. The teacher, Marin, simply tells him he'll see him at the end, not recognising the alienating process that has just taken place.

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