The Workshop

French writer-director Laurent Cantet, whose parents were schoolteachers, returns to the narrative formula of his most celebrated film, The Class (2008), using the interpersonal dynamics among a multicultural group of students to explore the social, political, and racial tensions roiling French society. A famous crime novelist (Marina Fois) blows into a small, economically distressed town near Marseille to teach a summer workshop for young writers, and her most talented student (Matthieu Lucci) turns out to be a closet white nationalist with a giant crush on her. The movie suffers from an anticlimactic ending, but as in The Class, the ensemble scenes are electric; the kind of social divisions evident in the first movie have only been inflamed by unemployment, the growing refugee crisis, and the terror attacks in France over the past decade, which have so often targeted young people. In French with subtitles.