There’s a film I’d like to see. The Class follows the relationship between a young, idealistic teacher – I was one of those once – and a troublesome class of 13- and 14-year-olds in an abyss of Parisian deprivation and cultural foment. Child actors actually volunteered – their performances raw, unadorned and natural so one wonders how much of it is genuinely improvised.
The humiliation is soul-destroying but the chemistry between the hormonal, insecure and aggressive adolescents yields extraordinarily insightful moments. By all accounts, this is a film that every MP in the country needs to see and debate.
The despair known to almost every teacher that the interests of the vast majority of these street-hardened kids simply don’t stretch much beyond rap music, hanging out, mobile phones and football. The tragedy is that you also know that they never will, however close you get to making meaningful contact.
I am fortunate since I work in a microcosm of comparatively old – fashioned sanity where a few Aristotelian meanderings are allowed and rules are predominantly followed. The norm is closer to the film’s portrayal, as far as the reviewers tell me.
Today, a short trip down the Gulf Road took two hours since everyone able to walk unassisted took their cars and armed with party foam, spraying everyone within range, hooting mindlessly in celebration of the Liberation. Twentysomethings in fast cars armed with huge multicoloured water pistols sat, impossibly, on their driver’s doors, braking and steering by footwork and luck. Others sat on hoods, waving and cheering, still others were on the roofs of the cars, all bedecked in the national colours. I suppose I ought to be grateful that this is the closest I get to anarchy.