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Icarus Film
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School of Babel
A film by Julie Bertuccelli
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Welcome to a one-of-a-kind Paris education program for immigrant children from around the globe. In her feature documentary debut, director Julie Bertuccelli (SINCE OTAR LEFT, THE TREE) follows one class of students ranging from 11 to 15 years of age as they begin life in a new land.

Hailing from countries across the globe including Ireland, Brazil, China, Ukraine, Tunisia, Venezuela, Guinea and Libya, many of the students at 'La Grange aux Belles,' a school in the diverse 10th district of Paris, are asylum seekers. They must learn French as they combat homesickness, juggle weighty familial responsibilities and recover from the trauma of previous lives of social and economic devastation.

Their teacher, Ms. Cervoni, must exercise as much patience and skill in instructing the students as in her interactions with their parents. As she guides them through a rigorous school year and attempts to prepare them for the transition to mainstream classes, she is a key negotiator in schoolyard conflicts and cultural clashes and navigating complicated dynamics both inside and outside the classroom

"A smart, clear, upbeat movie [in which] you see firsthand the students dealing with the anxiety about cultural integration."The New York Times

"An unusually uplifting social study, a collage of journeys to integration as well as maturity, and by simple design a breath of relief in the bogey-ridden immigration debate."Sight & Sound

"Julie Bertuccelli's enchanting emotional documentary tracks a year in the life of 24 immigrant children. Allowed to be themselves, the subjects speak in a language we understand. It's as simple—and extraordinary—as that."The Evening Standard

"Migrants were born as human beings, not as propaganda fodder for opportunist political xenophobes...you learn, or re-learn it in Julie Bertuccelli's superb SCHOOL OF BABEL."The Financial Times

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"A lively and lovely verite doucumentary filmed over a school year in a classroom in Paris in which 24 teenagers of 22 different nationalities, often with sad stories to tell and sometimes uplifting ones, all find a voice of their own."The Independent

"Bertuccelli's engaging movie is a simple humanist picture of hopeful young lives in a multiethnic society."The Sunday Times

"Infinitely moving. We are immersed in a swirl of emotions each more intense than the other. So we cry and laugh a lot, or we hold back our tears, because these emotions are universal... SCHOOL OF BABEL is a soothing and invigorating film." Les Inrockuptibles

"Julie Bertuccelli captures the uniqueness of a Parisian class whose students struggle with integration." Variety

Best Documentary Nominee, César Awards
Tournées Film Festival
Rendez vous with French Cinema, Film Society of Lincoln Center
Montana Children's Film Festival
Festival du Film Francais de Tel-Aviv
Istanbul Intl Film Festival
Toronto Kids International Film Festival
San Francisco Film Festival
Crossing Europe Film Festival, Austria
Abu Dhabi Film Festival
Roma Film Festival
  

89 minutes / color
Release: 2015
Copyright: 2013
Sale: $348

Study guide available

In theaters now!

Subject areas:
Adolescence, Anthropology, Conflict Resolution, Cultural Anthropology, Cultural Studies, Education, Family Relations, France, French Culture, Globalization, High School Use, Racism

Related Links:
Study Guide Available in Adobe PDF Format


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