L’ATELIER (THE WORKSHOP)
Laurent Cantet’s Palme d’Or-winning The Class was a profound examination of contemporary education in all its social and pedagogical complexities. Set in a summer creative writing workshop, Cantet’s new film, The Workshop, veers into a very different, very intriguing direction.
Presided over by a published crime novelist, the workshop’s objective is to have its working-class, mixed race, adolescent participants collectively compose a novel set in their coastal French town. Reaching consensus proves difficult, and Antoine, the most outspoken, contentious participant begins to dominate—and destabilize—the proceedings.
Under Cantet’s steely focus, The Workshop seamlessly shifts from a film in which people discuss a thriller to a film that is itself a fiercely intelligent thriller, grounded in the fraught sociopolitical landscape these kids are inheriting. –Jaie Laplante