Monsieur Lazhar

  • Year:2011
  • Rating:M
  • Director:Philippe Falardeau
  • Cast:Mohamed Fellag, Sophie Nélisse, Émilien Néron
  • Release Date:September 06, 2012
  • Distributor:Palace
  • Running time:94 minutes
  • Film Worth:$18.00
  • FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth

A deeply moving and deftly handled drama that beautifully walks the line between melodrama and realism.

review image 46f85c4413adc952d3d8.jpg

.

Canadian director, Philippe Falardeau’s Monsieur Lazhar is a fine drama reminiscent of another French-language title set in a multicultural classroom, Laurent Cantet’s The Class, though it’s far more gentle and uplifting. With terrific performances from adult and child actors alike, it treats its tragic themes with skill and sensitivity.

One bitter Montreal winter’s morning, a primary school teacher is found dead in her classroom; the community reels in shock, while the school scrambles for a replacement. As if by grace, a quiet Algerian named Bachir Lazhar (Mohamed Fellag) appears to fill the position. He has no qualifications, but says that he taught for nineteen years back home. In the classroom, he insists on respect, courtesy and silence when he talks. The students aren’t sure what to make of him, but their grief makes them malleable. Despite his authoritarianism, he shows them compassion and understanding. It turns out that Lazhar has his own woes: early on, we find out that he was the victim of political persecution in Algiers.

We’re not surprised when Lazhar finds success with the kids, but Falardeau makes it work, with a nice balance of melodrama and subdued realism; he lets each scene feel natural, however much it tugs at our emotions. It’s a gorgeous film too: the wintry palette of greys, browns and pale pastels, and the cold, indirect sunlight illuminate the story perfectly. Algerian-French comedian, Mohamed Fellag, carries the film with dignity, his expressive features betraying a well of emotion. We never question how unrealistic it is that an asylum seeker could show up out of nowhere to make a difference in kids’ lives – Monsieur Lazhar never pretends to be anything but a grown-up fable, and it’s a captivating one.

.

follow us on twitter
like us on facebook

latest categories

DVD

latest issue

Filmink latest issue

latest news

Australian Win At TIFF
Australian Win At TIFF

Local filmmaker Sotiris Dounoukos makes a short film in France that wins at Toronto Film Fest, and is now gearing up to adapt controversial Helen Garner book.

These People Are Going To BOFA
These People Are Going To BOFA

Tasmania’s Breath of Fresh Air Film Festival is about to crack open its fifth year with the best program to date.

Antenna Film Festival Transmits Full Program
Antenna Film Festival Transmits Full Program

If you love docos, then look no further than this fest dedicated to the art form.

These Final Hours Actress To Star With Gosling and Crowe
These Final Hours Actress To Star With Gosling and Crowe

Angourie Rice, who made such an impression alongside Nathan Phillips in ‘These Final Hours’, breaks into the big time.