Emma Townley, Marketing Manager at Harbour Lights Picturehouse, Southampton takes a look at this week’s Discover Tuesdays presentation of SCHOOL OF BABEL
Director Julie Bertucelli delivers this captivating documentary focusing on the educational lives of teenagers who are in a class that allows them to improve their French-language skills, and study other subjects. Not only does the film give an insight into the characters of these individuals, it is also a study of a multi-ethnic classroom.
These intelligent and sometimes troublesome teens express their talents and ambitions, proving their worth to their peers, relatives and themselves. Although the majority of them are not pleased with their segregation from other students at the school, this only seems to further their determination to be the best in all they do.
Through strong friendship bonds and sharing their life experiences, we see these characters grow and witness the emotional effect on them when someone leaves the class. Their attitude towards adults and their fellow students is a reflection of their personalities and a reaction to the lifestyles they have experienced so far. Not all of them see this learning experience as a positive.
We watch the students direct and star in their own film. The film they make gives them a voice and a chance to express how hard daily life can be, but also how much they are trying. Parents, friends, relatives and carers get the chance to watch a screening of their film before it is entered into the Ciné-Clap Festival and the Festival of Paris.
SCHOOL OF BABEL will open your eyes to a hidden world whilst reminding you of those difficult days at school when trying to fit in wasn’t always easy. It shows that languages don’t need to create boundaries as people are simply looking to relate to and learn from one another, which reinforces the idea that no matter how hard life can be, if you keep trying, good things will come your way.