A-Z French film titles

entre les murs, cantet

PURCHASE DOLANGUAGES MATERIALS  BELOW WITH PAYPAL/CARD-  DVDs and background materials also  available below.

french a level, cinema, essay, summary

Resources have been written with the needs of busy teachers in mind. They are available:

  • to download (online version)
  • to receive on CD with access to the online version also
  • to receive as a VLE version (moodle, firefox etc) with access to the online version also

We are used to vicariously viewing school life in "fly on the wall" educational documentaries such as Educating Essex and Yorkshire where cameras are set up to capture scenes which are then edited together to concentrate on a range of dramas which interest the director.   Films embracing classroom scenes from Vigo's Zéro de Conduite and Truffaut's Les 400 coups have marked the history of French cinema;  school days seem to be an endless source of fascination for French audiences.   In the charming Etre and avoir Nicolas Philibert captured a soon-to-retire teacher's last year in a tiny one class primary school with Etre et avoir.  The global hit Les Choristes by Barratier was a feel-good hit which again proved that seeing children make good against the odds was a powerful force.

The genesis of Entre les Murs was unusual.  François Bégadeau wrote an autobiographical novel of a year teaching French language and  literature in a suburban school and the director, Cantet, uses the author to perform as himself in the film using amateur actors to play the students he teaches.   The film traces, in parallel, the lives of the teachers and the pupils, cutting mainly between staffroom and Marin's (Bégedeau's) classroom.   First and foremost it is the diverse characters of the students which is of interest as they begin to assert themselves in mid adolescence;  one can feel the attempt to impart French language and culture cracking at the seams as the teacher endeavours to use out-dated didactic techniques to get his message across, albeit with lashings of humanity.

With students coming from all over the world, this classroom, illustrates well France's ethnic diversity and issues around identities, loyalties and fears of expulsion are integrated well into the texture of the film.   Challenging from beginning to end the film eschews any sentimentality, is very matter of fact yet strangely endearing.

This blend of documentary style with rehearsed acting is interesting filmically as it harks back to the 1920's and Nanouk of the North the first full-length documentary about the lives of Eskimos.  Much of the action, despite appearing authentic, was staged for effect;   unlike Nanouk, however although Entre les murs is staged, one really does get the feeling that Cantet really captures the essence of current everyday life in the classroom.



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Entre les murs-versions

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Purchase by email: Simply email me, preferably using your school email address and I will invoice you and set you up.



  • Detailed summary of film with verbs gapped (infinitives given)
  • Comprehensive questions on each scene
  • Character study guide with wide range of adjectives


  • Multi-tense practice tool
  • A-factor builds in practice of more complex structures
  • Direct-indirect speech exercise encourages reported speech


  • Matching quotations to themes to prepare for paragraphing
  • Essay planning guide including template
  • Essay plan and sample essay


  • Examplar scenes analysed  COMING SOON
  • Scene analysis template   COMING SOON


Mark schemes are provided for:

  • the gapped summary
  • character guide
  • multi-tense exercise
  • A-factor
  • direct-indirect speech exercise
  • themes exercise

Answers are NOT given for the questions which are intended to elicit an individual response.


English subtitles

French subtitles