Cinema Films (merlynsprankling)Brisbane, Australia
Cinema's Favorite Movies
For those who have recently been high school students, Entre les Murs (The Class) is almost humurous in its familiarity. For those in education, it offers a complex picture of the problems that need to be overcome, without putting forward any simple solution. For all others, this is a rich classroom drama to remedy the simplicity of 'Dangerous Minds' and 'Freedom Writers.' It would be quite easy to mistake this film for a documentary. Its story of classroom challenges comes straight from a teacher who has experienced this all first-hand. The performances of teachers and students alike are pitch-perfect, genuine and rich, and the 'fly-on-the-wall' style of filmmaking is perfectly appropriate for capturing the tedium of modern teaching. Essentially, the film simply charts one teacher's futile attempts to reach a class of mixed-race 14-year-olds in inner city Paris. Francois Begaudeau, the teacher who wrote the book on which this film is based, plays Mr. Marin. His sincere attempts to educate this class ( and to reach the smarter students amongst the group) are continuously thwarted, mainly by student insolence, and those many, mind-numbing, endlessly cyclical conversations that consume classroom time and teacher attention. For most part, the film is simply a document of these struggles, though it reaches a sort of climax after tempers flare in the classroom and one student's future education is put on the line. At times, the film does drag a little, but this only contributes to its slowly-building impact. In the end the film's effect will take audience by suprise...
Persepolis is a magnificent film! I was able to catch the animated film version of Marjane Satrapi's memoir at this year's Brisbane International Film Festival, and I'm very impressed-- indeed! The film is about the poignant tale of a young girl in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. The story is told through the eyes of a young and bold Marjane from age nine through to age 24 when she comes to the realization she can no longer live in her beloved homeland. It includes a period when, at age 14 her parents, worried for her safety, ship her off to school in Vienna. In Vienna, Marjane becomes the exotic outsider, never quite fitting in, and coming of age in an alien environment proves difficult, especially when romance is involved. She returns to Iran, but years of fundamentalist rule and war with Iraq sees the country much changed, and the rapidly maturing and independent Marjane finds that she no longer fits in the country of her birth. Although laced with humour, despite the grim circumstances often faced by people when the world changes around them at frightening speed, the film is endearing, and it contains worthy lessons, as it entertains, and opens up your heart and mind. It's a triumph!