Monsieur Lazhar by Philippe Falardeau (2012)

Canadian-Quebecois candidate in the foreign language category in last year’s Oscars.
It tells a story of one class of 12-year olds, whose teacher Martine hangs herself in the opening sequence. What follows is a tale of dealing with shock, dealing with loss and how youngsters do not differ much from adults. Maybe only to the extent that they are half adult size.
Their new teacher is an immigre from Algeria. Monsieur Lazhar deals with adapting issues, culture shock and as we later learn, with a private loss of his own.
His teaching is way more traditional and strict than any of the other Canadian teachers, who are mostly women. Slowly he learns how much the craft of teaching has progressed. Gradually, it is craftily shown, how teachers are the opressed at school. How teachers are unable to cope with the challenges of contemporary upbringing of their pupils. In the end, it turns out that perhaps, just perhaps, the system is skewed. And Martine couldn’t deal with the inability to act, to help the kids, who are in the end – only kids.

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Filed under 2012 cinema releases

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