'The Class' will be in session a month early

French release plans brought forward

PARIS -- Laurent Cantet's Palme d'Or-winning film "The Class" will start its session on Sept. 24 instead of on the film's original Gallic release date of Oct. 15, French distributor Haut et Court said Wednesday.

Haut et Court is moving the release date for the documentary-style fiction about a teacher and his 25 students in a rough Parisian neighborhood "because foreign distributors, Italian for example, have chosen to release the film as soon as September. It was thus logical that France shouldn't be behind," the movie's producer Carole Scotta told French newspaper Le Parisien.

Producers also pushed up the release date with the Oscars in mind, since the film must hit theaters before Sept. 30 in order to qualify to bid to represent France at 2009's Academy Awards.

"The Class" has already been sold to 43 countries by Memento Films International, and negotiations are still under way for 12 other territories, including the U.S.