House Logo
Explore categories +

The Class (#110 of 6)

Cannes Film Festival 2017 Robin Campillo’s 120 Beats Per Minute

Comments Comments (...)

Cannes Film Review: 120 Beats Per Minute

The Orchard

Cannes Film Review: 120 Beats Per Minute

Robin Campillo had a breakout moment at this year’s Cannes Film Festival with 120 Beats Per Minute, which has been widely tipped as the film to beat for the Palme d’Or. It’s only Campillo’s third film as a director, following 2004’s They Came Back and 2013’s Eastern Boys, but as a writer he’s already penned one Palme d’Or winner: Laurent Cantet’s 2008 docudrama The Class, which relied heavily on the real-life dynamic between a teacher and his racially diverse students. Inspired by Campillo’s true-life experience as a member of AIDS activist group ACT UP Paris in the 1990s, 120 Beats Per Minute feels like a close cousin to The Class, as it similarly spends much of its runtime on lengthy debates between a close-knit community’s various members.

San Sebastián International Film Festival 2012: Twice Born, The Dead and the Living, The Attack, & More

Comments Comments (...)

San Sebastián International Film Festival 2012: Twice Born, The Dead and the Living, The Attack, & More
San Sebastián International Film Festival 2012: Twice Born, The Dead and the Living, The Attack, & More

Spain is in economic meltdown. Austerity is hitting most of the population very hard. There are strikes and huge anti-government demonstrations throughout the country. Yet those attending the 60th San Sebastián International Film Festival were barely aware of it. Cafés and restaurants were as bustling as usual, and the cinemas were packed. Film critics being film critics talked movies; no mention was made of the real world outside, apart from the “inconvenience” of the one-day general strike in the Basque country that interrupted the festival. However, some of the films in competition attempted to remind the cushioned critics of reality. But did we really want to see another film about the war in Bosnia, the Holocaust, and the Israel-Palestine conflict? Not if they’re served as suspect and ersatz entertainments.

Oscar 2012 Winner Predictions Foreign Language

Comments Comments (...)

Oscar 2012 Winner Predictions: Foreign Language
Oscar 2012 Winner Predictions: Foreign Language

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who truly understands how the Oscars work that the still above isn’t from Asghar Farhadi’s A Separation. You will say, but how can it lose? This remarkably scripted drama, after all, won the Golden Globe, performed almost as well as Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life on year-end lists and polls, and presently rests at #69 on IMDb’s Top 250. As for its unique appeal, it reaches beyond preconceived notions of a society most people—not just the ones who vote in this category—are unfamiliar with. In short, a win for A Separation feels right because voting for it feels like the right thing to do. To which I ask, but for whom?

Oscar 2009 Winner Predictions Foreign Language

Comments Comments (...)

Oscar 2009 Winner Predictions: Foreign Language
Oscar 2009 Winner Predictions: Foreign Language

After years of controversy, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences finally elects an executive committee to give a second chance to three foreign-language films snubbed during this category’s first round of voting. By most accounts, this decision to police the regular nominating committee, Academy Members for the Perpetual Reward of Holocaust Pictures, has yielded an unusually strong batch of contenders, which include two Cannes prizewinners and the latest from the director of The Last Exit to Brooklyn. Now the question remains if the Academy will enact similar quality-control measures in other categories—so, you know, a travesty like the one that befell Sally Hawkins this year will never happen again. But I digress. This year my blindspots are Uli Edel’s The Baader Meinhof Complex and Yojiro Takita’s Departures. The former, about the roots of the Red Army Faction terrorist group, sounds like a more youthful and explosive relation of Germany’s last winner in this category, The Lives of Others, but Departures may have a leg up on it if Variety, that bastion of film-biz-y shorthand criticism, is to be believed: “Fascinating glimpses into a unique profession trump the pic’s emotional manipulation and substantial length, suggesting that its top prize in Montreal could lead to fest action and, following judicious postmortem editing, selected arthouse engagements.” Revanche, Janus’s first theatrical release of a new film in decades, will be released on video by the Criterion Collection and may be the strongest contender here. The story of lives intersecting in a rural Austrian town after an unfortunate accident, this ninth feature from Austrian director Gtz Spielmann threatens to go down the low-road of a guttersnipping Ulrich Seidl production until it evolves into a morally disquieting and visually prismatic and resplendent look at grief, boasting the most chilling sound design you’ll hear outside a torture porn. But the last thing academy members probably want to think about is getting sliced to bits by a woodcutter, so the race is probably between The Class and Waltz with Bashir. The latter won the Golden Globe and obviously has its fans, but naysayers have also called out its redundancy and borderline incomprehensibility, though it may ultimately lose because voters might feel it should have been nominated in either the animated or documentary feature categories. Laurent Cantet’s The Class, also being released by Sony Pictures Classics, has received a less thoughtful theatrical run, which is surprising given the film’s buzz following its victory at Cannes, but the temperament of the film, which documents in reality-TV fashion the struggles of a teacher to tame his immigrant-city students, seems very much in sync with that of the academy’s. In short: If Armond White thinks it’s racist, it must be a winner.

Oscar 2009 Nomination Predictions Adapted Screenplay

Comments Comments (...)

Oscar 2009 Nomination Predictions: Adapted Screenplay
Oscar 2009 Nomination Predictions: Adapted Screenplay

For the first time, Slant has decided to tackle nomination predictions in the screenplay categories. Why, you ask? Are we simply making an attempt to demonstrate prognosticating prowess? Nah, it’s because they’re just so damned easy this year, especially the category based on material previously produced or published, now currently plundered or pillaged. Most years, this is the category that’s overstocked with potential candidates, if for no other reason than Oscar’s historic fondness for films that assert their Tradition of Quality credentials by adapting from serious literature. In other words, more Best Picture candidates get their validation here. That said, it’s precisely that literary bias that might keep one of the strongest dark-horse Best Picture candidates out of the running. The Dark Knight boasts a WGA nomination, but we’re betting the Academy’s writers branch will probably over-consider the source. It’s not like they’ve never nominated scripts based off comic books before. Hell, they’ve done it three times already this decade: Ghost World, American Splendor, and A History of Violence. But this is Batman we’re talking about, and my hunch is that the writers en masse won’t embrace the words growled by Christian Bale as warmly as they did the snark evinced by Thora Birch or the fuggedaboutits from William Hurt. Otherwise, there’s very little reason to argue against the other four scripts cited by WGA: Benjamin Lumpen, Shout, Lost/Nixon, and Slumdog Millionaire. Little reason to argue because there’s almost nothing else out there. The ranks are so thin that we could almost see them finding room for the appropriately titled Let the Right One In, but they usually only check their radar for films with hipster cachet over in Original Screenplay. Nah, the final spot probably comes down to one of the two tasteful Kate Winslet adaptations. The overripe dialogue of Revolutionary Road is certainly more gaseous, but writers who’ve had “show, don’t tell” drilled into their heads won’t respond kindly to all of Winslet-DiCaprio’s declaratives. Bet on The Reader to land the fifth slot in talismanic (if misguided) defense of literacy.

New York Film Festival 2008: The Class, Wendy and Lucy, The Windmill Movie, Shorts, & Housekeeping

Comments Comments (...)

New York Film Festival 2008: The Class, Wendy and Lucy, The Windmill Movie, Shorts, & Housekeeping
New York Film Festival 2008: The Class, Wendy and Lucy, The Windmill Movie, Shorts, & Housekeeping

Traditionally, the opening night film of NYFF should be a fairly prominent title that can drag in the middlebrows and not alienate an audience coming as much to be part of an “event” as to see a movie. It should also be well-crafted enough that no one could really object to it. (Kind of backfired last year with the idiosyncracies of The Darjeeling Limited, but the string of films before—Look At Me, The Queen, Good Night, And Good Luck—is an immaculate chain.) This year it’s Laurent Cantet’s The Class. Step back and think about that for a second.