Winter 2012 Features series
Sunday, April 29, 2012 at 4:00pm
Sunday, April 29, 2012 at 7:00pm
Directed by Philippe Falardeau
Screenplay by Philippe Falardeau
Starring Mohamed Fellag, Sophie Nélisse, and Émilien Néron
Rated PG ·
Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Philippe Falardeau (Congorama, It’s Not Me, I Swear!) and from the producers of last year’s Academy Award –nominated Incendies, Monsieur Lazhar is one of the most gripping Québécois films of the last decade. The film has already received extraordinary attention, including Best Canadian Feature Film at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival as well as being named as Canada’s submission for Best Foreign Language Film at the 84th Academy Awards.
Following the tragic and shocking death of a Montreal schoolteacher, Bachir Lazhar (Fellag) – a middle-aged Algerian immigrant seeking political refuge in Quebec – swiftly pursues the opportunity to fill the sudden vacancy and come to the aid of the over-worked principal and students affected by this tragedy. To these children in shock, Lazhar’s traditional teaching methods may well provide the structure they need. As more information about Lazhar’s own history is revealed, his struggles and experi- ences make him all the better suited to guide these children into adulthood.
Monsieur Lazhar is further proof of Falardeau’s talent for drawing out depth and precision from child actors. The fine performances reflect the authenticity of the characters, and the story illustrates how adult hypocrisy and little white lies about death can turn a child’s world upside down when fate strikes. A complex character study of loss, innocence and imposture, Monsieur Lazhar is a resplendent and tender tale about the lessons we learn from one another, regardless of age. Bachir has much to gain from his pupils, and so do we.
Director Philippe Falardeau brings a luminous warmth to this affecting story. Brian D. Johnson, Maclean’s