The power of director Laurent Cantets portrait of a Parisian junior-high-school teacher (brilliantly played by co-writer François Bégaudeau, adapting his novel) and his discontented students comes from its urgent documentary feel it was actually scripted by the filmmakers after improv-workshopping the lines with their cast of young non-actors. The thrust of the piece is that these kids are much brighter and more engaged with the world than theyre given credit for. Standouts among the multi-cultural class are Franck Keïta (Souleymane), Esméralda Ouertani (Sandra), and Carl Nanor (Carl). The concept may seem simple and overworked, but the effect is overwhelming. French title: Entre les murs (128 min.).