School of Babel - La Cour de Babel
Sunday, March 16, 2014
North American Premiere!
At a secondary school in Paris’s 10th arrondissement there is a “reception class,” where students between the ages of 11 and 15 are taught their first lessons in French. Some of these immigrant children, newly arrived, know a few phrases in the language of their adopted country; others can’t speak a word. Their families have come from all across the globe, from Ireland, Senegal, Morocco, Brazil, and China, fleeing persecution or just looking for a fresh start. Shot over a year, this observational documentary by Julie Bertuccelli (Since Otar Left, The Tree) is a kind of nonfiction counterpart to Laurent Cantet’s Palme d’Or-winning The Class, staying within the confines of the school and recording the children’s candid, sometimes heated discussions and interactions between parents and teachers. The result is both illuminating and extremely touching, a multifaceted look at the French melting pot, its frustrations and its hopes for the future.