Monsieur Lazhar


Comedy / Drama

IMDb Rating 7.5 10 18,901


Downloaded times
December 12, 2020


Sophie Nélisse as Caroline
866.71 MB
French 2.0
23.976 fps
95 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by howard.schumann 9 / 10 / 10

A film that explores loss, exile, and the truths we tell our children.

Our society has often been called "death-denying," one in which grief is suppressed and the inevitability of death ignored. Author John Fowles said, "Death's rather like a certain kind of lecturer. You don't really hear what is being said until you're in the first row." The children at a primary school in Montreal are definitely in the first row in Philippe Falardeau's Monsieur Lazhar, the story of a sixth grade class in Canada attempting to deal with the emotional trauma resulting from the sudden and shocking loss of their teacher. Nominated for Best Foreign Language film at the 2012 Oscars, Monsieur Lazhar is an adaptation of Évelyne de la Chenelière's stage play, and is produced by Luc Déry and Kim McCraw, the same team that gave us the Oscar-nominated Incendies. According to the jury at the Toronto Film Festival, it is "a film that explores loss, exile, and the truths we tell our children." Opening in a schoolyard in the middle of a snowy winter, Grade 6 pupils, Simon (Émilien Néron), and his friend, Alice (Sophie Nélisse), have run off to deliver milk cartons only to discover their teacher Martine Lachance has committed suicide, a discovery that leaves both children with profound emotional scars that will take a long time to heal. Because Simon had been a problem for his teacher, he blames himself for her death and takes out his guilt feelings by being overly aggressive towards other children. Unfortunately, the school can only think in terms of "professional" counseling, and a psychologist is hired to assist the distressed pupils, but she is ineffective in reaching them. The classroom is redecorated and painted, yet the students are not moved to another room and the unseen presence of Martine looms large. Exhausted by the ordeal, the school principal, Madame Vaillancourt (Danielle Proulx), out of desperation, hires Bachir Lazhar (Mohamed Fellag), an Algerian refugee without papers or references, believing his story that he is a landed immigrant and has taught school for nineteen years, though in fact he has been the manager of a restaurant. Though getting off to a shaky start in class, dictating Balzac to the bewildered children, Bachir soon begins to handle the children's emotions with greater awareness and sensitivity. Operating under the severe restrictions of today's over-protective culture, he is prohibited from hugging a crying child or even touching them for that matter, a prohibition that often works to the detriment of the child as well as to what the school is trying to accomplish. Though Bachir actually had not told the truth about his teaching qualifications in order to get the job, his ability to relate to the student's trauma because of his own experience allows him to overcome his lack of training and meet the students on an equal playing field. Winner of the award for Best Canadian feature film at the Toronto Film Festival, Monsieur Lazhar is a low-key, low-budget, and often humorous film that observes rather than preaches, and, though the script offers many opportunities, avoids clichés and cloying sentimentality. Marked by outstanding performances by Fellag, Proulx, and especially the children who are natural and unaffected, the characters are allowed to explore their own feelings without contrivance or manipulation. When the emotional moments come, they are all the more powerful because they arise naturally and not out of pre-designed plot points designed to provoke tears. Though we might wish for an ending akin to Mr. Holland's Opus, the honesty of the film precludes it. While children's hurt in this kind of situation may never be completely forgotten, with compassion, they may be able to develop a new awareness of the preciousness of life and the beauty of giving and receiving love. Monsieur Lazhar has pointed the way.

Reviewed by FilmPulse 10 / 10 / 10

Heart-Warming and Heart-Wrenching

Monsieur Lazhar is another in a long line of inspirational teacher films set to show viewers that teachers are an unending source of inspiration and worldly advice. I have grown tired of this plot line and subsequent variations, but Monsieur Lazhar is a shining example of the inspirational teacher film and the poignancy of said films if executed correctly, with honesty and maturity. Philippe Falardeau's (It's Not Me, I Swear and Congorama) film adaption of Evelyne de la Chenelière's play (she also plays Alice's mother), Monsieur Lazhar was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Foreign Language Film category as the official Canadian submission. The film tells the story of Bachir Lazhar (Mohamed Fellag), an Algerian immigrant hired at Montreal public grade school after the original teacher was found hanging from the ceiling of her classroom. The teacher, Martine Lachance, was found by one of her students, Simon (Émilien Néron) while he was delivering milk to the classroom as he always does every Thursday. The film continues to show the effects of death and the ways that the children try to deal with the loss, but also their grief, which at times seem to be stifled by the school. Monsieur Lazhar, at the same time, is dealing with a loss of his own; having come to Canada seeking asylum and waiting for his wife and children to join him, only to have his family killed the night before they were supposed to leave Algeria. The film cuts between Bachir in the classroom (having the children do a dictation of Balzac, rearranging their desks, etc.) and Bachir outside of the classroom (picking up his wife's belongings, preparing for a hearing, etc.). No one knows of his painful past, nor of his refugee status; the school is under the impression that he is a permanent resident of Canada. Bachir notices, because of his current dealing with grief, that the children are trying to communicate or express their feelings about the death of their teacher. The school has brought on a psychologist to help the children come to grips with their loss. Bachir realizes that it is merely a stop-gap, but is told "not to make waves". He continues to witness things that lead him to believe that the children want to talk about their teacher, Martine and also of the trouble they are having trying to understand something that may well be beyond their comprehension. Monsieur Lazhar is a heart-warming, but at the same time, heart-wrenching story of how people (whether it be children or adults) trying to come to terms with the loss of a family member (albeit for the children it was a teacher, but school, at that young age, can be something like a second home). Bachir, himself, uses a very personal and poignant short story, that he wrote himself and reads to his class, in an effort to say goodbye - something that Martine Lachance never did. The film features some great performances from Mohamed Fellag as Monsieur Lazhar, Émilien Néron as Simon - a guilt-ridden child that feels responsible for his teacher's suicide - and Sophie Nélisse as Alice, the surprisingly mature young girl that has the courage to speak about the effects of Martine's decisions. Kevin

Reviewed by sugith-1 10 / 10 / 10

A little masterpiece

This film won Canada's Genie for best film and deserved it. The story is simple and profound, contemporary and timeless at the same time. After the suicide of a grade school class teacher, a new teacher appears ready to take over the class. An Algerian immigrant, Monsieur Lazhar brings such a deep humanity to his job, that the traumatized kids are able to come to terms in some ways with what has happened. What they don't realize is how much their new teacher knows of their pain first hand. Fellag's performance as the title character is note perfect and gigantic. The children are astonishing and the final scene, the final moment will crush even the most stoic viewer's resolve not to weep.

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