School of Babel (2014) MIFF Review


France   89 Mins

Director Julie Beruccelli (The Tree) spent a year filming a reception class (a class for students who have moved to France and are at various stages of learning French) is a secondary school in Paris. In School of Babel, she introduces the audience to a variety of people from the class and shows the ups and downs of the migrant experience through the eyes of a teenager.

I found the freeform nature of the film took away a lot of the potential impact of the stories. Perhaps it is because I have years of experiences with teenagers in a secondary school environment, but I found it simply highlighted that teenagers can be delightful and annoying regardless of where they are from or what language they speak.

By the end of the film, while I had actually quite liked the snippets of stories that the students shared, I was left wondering what Beruccelli’s intention for the film had been.

School of Babel is part of the Next Gen Program and has school screenings on Tuesday August 5 at 1:30pm and Tuesday August 11 at 11am at ACMI. Book through ATOM

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