A tonic to the Hollywood teacher movie. Even at their Dead Poet’s Society best, those inspirational pictures rarely seem to be taking place inside a real classroom. The Class exudes authenticity, perhaps because star Francois Begaudeau is a former teacher whose book about his experiences formed the basis for this documentary-style drama. The Class follows Begaudeau, as his alter ego, through a single school year teaching a surly, ethnically diverse, largely disinterested batch of teens in Paris. This is more of a teacher’s movie than a student’s – I wish there were a few more moments looking at the experience from the perspective of these kids, many of whom are learning in their second language – yet as such it feels perfectly attuned to the daily battle of creating and maintaining a learning environment in a chaotic, modern classroom. It would seem to be a mission impossible – though Begaudeau has his small victories, it’s worth mentioning that The Class ends on a note of unequivocal failure. There’s no standing on the desk in triumph here.