adult world well before their time.
Director: Philippe Falardeau
Cast: Fellag, Sophie Nélisse, Émilien Néron
Duration: 92 mins
Country of Origin: Canada
“Truly unforgettable. An exquisite, humanistic and subtly topical work of cinema art.”
Jennie Punter, THE GLOBE AND MAIL
“A masterpiece. A powerful and moving piece of story-telling that draws us in like a great realist novel. There have been countless films set in the classroom but few manage to avoid the perils of mawkishness and melodrama as adroitly.”
John McDonald, THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW
“One of the very best films of the year. Charged with love and optimism, layers of meaning, and striking political relevance to our own time, and the children are unforgettable.”
Evan Williams, THE AUSTRALIAN
“The recognition is deserved. The film manages to be both gentle and pointed, spiritually sensitive and politically acute. As it progresses, the complexity just keeps growing, until we realise we are standing in a great landscape of ideas and emotions, far bigger than we expected… Very few films offer a moral grandeur, as well as a political foundation; very few films have such poised and brilliant performances from unknown actors. Very few films in this realm avoid the cliches of the inspirational teacher genre, even if Mr Lazhar actually is one.”
Paul Byrnes, THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD
“Heartbreakingly beautiful… emotionally and intellectual complex. One of those rare films that remind us that being human is the greatest of all mysteries.”
Mark Nagalazas, THE WEST AUSTRALIAN
The acclaimed new film from the producers of the award winning Incendies, MONSIEUR LAZHAR is a profoundly moving story about a group of young schoolchildren coming to terms with the adult world before their time, and the inspirational educator who transforms their lives.
The story is set in Montreal, where the beloved teacher of a Year 6 class has abruptly passed away. Having learned of the incident in the newspaper, Bachir Lazhar (Fellag), a 55 year-old Algerian immigrant, makes his way to the school and offers his services as a substitute teacher. He’s in the right place at the right time, and is quickly hired to fill in.
The substantial cultural gap between Lazhar and his new class is immediately apparent, but little by little, Lazhar comes to understand this motley but endearing group, among whom are Alice (Sophie Nélisse) and Simon (Émilien Néron), two charismatic pupils particularly affected by their teacher’s passing. Yet while the class begins to heal, nobody in the school is aware of Lazhar’s painful past; nor do they suspect that his own place in the world is in jeopardy.
Adapting an award-winning play by Évelyne de la Chenelière, acclaimed Québécois writer-director Philippe Falardeau has crafted an indelible and universal story of compassion that earns every one of its extraordinary moments through insight, empathy and eloquence.
WINNER! – AUDIENCE AWARD – VOTED BEST FILM –
2012 SYDNEY, ROTTERDAM, LOCARNO FILM FESTIVALS
WINNER! – 6 CANADIAN ACADEMY AWARDS (GENIES) – BEST FILM, DIRECTOR, ACTOR (Fellag), SUPPORTING ACTRESS (Nélisse), ADAPTED SCREENPLAY, EDITING