Notes on The Class

13Feb09

A reader in Reykjavik writes:

“I was in the middle of reading You or The Invention of Memory when I went to see the French film The Class a few weeks ago. The movie is a fictional version of a teacher and class in an urban setting over the course of a school year.

It seemed to me that the teacher was a bit unnerved by his students, many of whom were from immigrant families, and his way to deal with it was trying to exert more control than was likely necessary. It came in the tone of his responses at times, in unnecessary remarks. In some ways the teacher was sympathetic, yet it seemed his insecurity had at times an aggressive edge that undermined his relations with his students.

To me this had a lot of echoes in You. Granted, the story is breaking up this way and that, and it’s hard to take the characters’ actions at face value. But betrayal is never far away, and the characters show a need for control that you figure will inevitably backfire. It’s as if fear of betrayal fuels the characters’ aggressiveness, like fear of losing control of a classroom. What would their memories be like if they tested each other less often?”

— LAUREN CERAND

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