School as a Judge in The Class


Entre les murs (The Class) (2008), directed by Laurent Cantet, portrays many of today’s social problems. It dramatizes the interactions between the students and the teacher in François Maris’s French lessons. The teacher must fulfill the responsibilities of a teacher; the students defy the teacher, who is seen as an authority figure. The resulting interactions embody social issues such as otherness, justice, equality, and resistance. This article discusses some of these sociological themes. The school constitutes a polarity between the true and the false, the knowledgeable and the ignorant in defiance of law, even in an “egalitarian” environment. Because the school as an institution determines who is “successful,” it keeps the polarities alive and has a monopoly on decisions. The students respond the school “siege” with various resistance tactics. In The Class, the school as a judge determines the future of the students, and the students endeavour to suspend this law.

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