Between the Walls, Palme d’Or 2008: “This Movie Has Got Clear” for Sean Penn

Laurent Cantet’s film returns to Culturebox after the opening ceremony of the 75th Cannes Film Festival.

This year, it is no longer Canal +, but France Télévisions that has joined forces Cannes Film Festival. And public service has pulled everything out to cover this prestigious film event. Among the many works that will be re-released on the occasion of the 75th edition, which starts this evening and continues until May 28, Culturebox offers at 21.05. Between the walls. For 128 minutes, the spectator is locked inside a dormitory. Fiction or documentary? We quickly stop asking the question to see only one thing: the reality of a college on a daily basis. A great lesson in the cinema.

Cannes 2022: a festival to follow on France.TV, Brut, TikTok, Fortnite …

It’s a hassle free movie. Everything is magic: interpretation, writing, provocations, generosity … Entre les murs has become obvious“, declared Sean Penn, chairman of the jury for the 61st Cannes Film Festival, after presenting the Palme d’Or to Laurent Cantet, in 2008. Without main names or professional actors, this was “little” French film with a small budget (3 million euros), selected in extremis in Cannes, won the best prize in relation to the favorites, the first Palme d’Or, which France received in twenty-two years and Under Satan’s Sun. from Pialat!

Adapted from the best-selling book by François Bégaudeau, former French teacher, Between the walls tells of the work of a young teacher in a fourth grade at a difficult Parisian college. The author plays his own role. In front of him, twenty-five impulsive boys and girls aged 14-15. Hectic hours, hard breaks, class or disciplinary advice … Instructor Laurent Cantet opens the doors to an unknown universe that serves as a sounding board for the outside world and its political and social issues.

Between the Walls is a full, dense film that questions the world [critique]

Professional amateurs
Just as he had recruited the workers from ANPE Human resourcesLaurent Cantet picked up his students from the Collège Françoise Dolto in Paris’ 20th arrondissement, an establishment which, according to him, provided a “diversity of geographical origin“, enough to support his project to show”the complexity of such a class, but also its richness“.

All the teenagers in the film are students at Dolto, all the teachers teach there, the parents are the students. If Cantet likes to nurture the experience of real people, he also asks non-professionals to do real acting work. Shortly after the start of the school year, François Bégaudeau and he will open theater workshops on Wednesday afternoon. It’s a matter of identifying the prominent personalities, the potential actors, of finding ways to dialogue … About fifty fourth grade students and ten teachers embark on the adventure. Teacher and novice actor François, provocative and a bit sarcastic, as in his novel, sets in motion the verbal struggle, pushing students to their limits. The casting took place by itself, the teenagers were chosen, the most tenacious are in the film. During fun and chaotic sessions, the class took shape, the teens composed their characters, the film was written on the spot. The teenagers have never had knowledge of a script.

Filmed as a tennis match
In July 2007, filming will begin. For five weeks, the twenty-five students are within the walls of a real classroom. Space is limited, the spotlights are burning. The students are spied on by three cameras, navigating between the rows, capturing reflections, attitudes on the go. “The idea was to film the lessons as tennis matches, the kids never knew when they were filmed, so they played hardspecifies the Cantet. The way François directed each scene from the inside, after we had discussed its ins and outs together, required an accomplishment that is rarely achieved between an actor and a director.“.

Leave a Comment