MONSIEUR LAZHAR
MONSIEUR LAZHAR

DIRECTOR
Philippe Falardeau

SCREENPLAY
Philippe Falardeau

CAST
Bachir Lazhar: Mohamed Fellag
Alice L'Écuyer: Sophie Nélisse
Simon: Émilien Néron
Marie-Frédérique: Marie-Ève Beauregard

AWARDS
Best Canadian Feature Film – Toronto International Film Festival (2011)

GENRE
Drama

DISTRIBUTOR
Music Box Films

Running time 94’
Production Canada, 2011
Rating PG-13
Gauge 35, Blu-ray, DVD

““Monsieur Lazhar” sustains an exquisite balance between grown-up and child’s-eye views of education, teacher-student relations and peer-group interactions. The students come quirkily alive in superb naturalistic performances devoid of cuteness and stereotyping. Like no other film about middle school life that I can recall, “Monsieur Lazhar” conveys the intensity and the fragility of these classroom bonds and the mutual trust they require.”
Stephen Holden, New York Times

“A classroom is a place of friendship, of work, of courtesy, a place of life,” says the new teacher of the title to his sixth-grade students in a Montreal public school. That profoundly touching statement evinces the deep respect Monsieur Lazhar (the phenomenal Mohamed Fellag) has for his charges, who are still reeling from a beloved teacher’s very public suicide. Writer-director Philippe Falardeau’s unforgettable movie, based on a one-person play by Evelyne de la Chenelière, explores the intricate process by which M. Lazhar earns the respect and trust of his pupils, some of them the children of immigrants or, like this devoted instructor, recent arrivals to Quebec. As the reasons for M. Lazhar’s immigration to Canada from Algeria are made clear, so, too is his rather unconventional method for applying for the teaching position. Yet this educator isn’t the film’s only multifaceted character: the preteen students are also fascinatingly complex, struggling with roiling emotions and troubles at home. Monsieur Lazhar is that rarest of movies about education: one that avoids clichés and sentimentality in favor of honesty and clear-eyed compassion.



 

 

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