So as to be near his children after his divorce, Laurent Monier, a history/geography teacher in a quiet provincial secondary school, takes a job in a "problem" school in the Paris suburbs. When he starts in after the holidays he's given the "Fourth-Technical" the school's toughest class and the only accomodation on the particularly difficult "Mûriers" estate ! His existence becomes a veritable assault course for which his history/geography degree had little prepared him.
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"I was determined to give this comedy set in the suburbs an optimistic ending. That didn't go down well. Unlikely, I was told, unrealistic, hackneyed, commercial, American-style happy ending and others. The future is necessary bleak, with the famous "suburban explosion" to cap it all. In the past, we weren't supposed to demoralize the working-class neighbourhoods, but today it's right to demoralize the immigrant neighbourhoods. Optimism is incongruous, old-fashioned and politically suspect in today's France. This is all the more surprising since France, compared to the rest of the world, isn't doing that badly, whatever people may say."