Yesterday, PJ and I watched Entre Les Murs, or The Class, a French film that was nominated for Best Foreign Language film at the Oscars this year. I wasn’t going to watch it with him at first, but then I was too tried to get off the couch. I’m glad I saw it: I loved it!

Here’s the trailer:

The film’s plot is deceptively simple: novelist and teacher François Bégaudeau plays a version of himself as the film follows his class over the course of a school year. The students in the class are played by non-actors; they’re kids from Paris who helped develop the dialogue and action through improvisation workshops with the director, Laurent Cantet, and Bégaudeau.

Nothing terribly dramatic happens over the course of the film. We see the teachers and their discussions in the teachers’ lounge. We see the kids, mostly in French class but also in the school yard, a concrete playground on which they sometimes play soccer. Some kids excel in class; others get into trouble. So in this way, The Class feels more like a documentary about a relatively nondescript junior class on French grammar.