Sony Pictures Classics (SPC) has added an educational element to their Cannes booty. Previously they picked up Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's drama Lorna's Silence, Norwegian director Bent Hamer's comedy/drama O'Horten, and animated Israeli doc Waltz with Bashir. (Eric Kohn explained why the latter deal was an especially good match of film with distributor.)

Variety reports that SPC's latest deal is their acquisition of US distribution rights for Laurent Cantet's The Class, which won the most coveted prize at Cannes, the Palme d'Or. The film was inspired by Francois Begaudeau's book based on his experiences teaching class in a rough section of Paris. The French-language title, Entre les Murs literally means "between the walls" or "inside the walls," which may give a further hint as to its concerns. (Thanks to commenter Céline for the linguistic assist.)

Our own James Rocchi says that Cantet cast "Begaudeau as himself, and then surrounds Begaudeau with a room full of real school kids cast as real school kids." If that premise sounds too precious, consider: "Begaudeau's interactions with his students are so nuanced and smart that it doesn't feel like the heavy hand of drama when various incidents and events escalate as the film progresses; they feel natural, lived in, human."

SPC will release The Class later this year, in time for awards consideration, followed by a platform release. They also picked up rights for Australia, New Zealand and Mexico.