Monsieur Lazhar

Posted 9 years ago by myetvmedia

Monsieur Lazhar is beautiful, sensitive film, which brings several complicated issues to the screen in a subtle and endearing manner. Writer-director Philippe Falardeau’s adaptation of Evelyne de la Chenelière’s play avoids the maudlin at all costs, keeps things refreshingly understated and manages to deliver charming comic moments in the telling of what could have been a grim story. Produced by Luc Déry and Kim McCraw, who also produced last year’s Oscar Foreign Film nominee “Incendies” (http://myetvmedia.com/film-review/incendies/), Monsieur Lazhar is following in ‘Incendies’footsteps.

Monsieur Lazhar was selected Best Canadian Feature Film, TIFF; Prix Du Public UBS and the Variety Piazza Grande Award, Locarno Film Festival. The film is adapted from a screenplay by Evelyne de la Chenelière with only one actor – Monsieur Lahzar, an Algerian immigrant. The movie adaptation fills this poignant and lovely story out with an excellent cast including: Mohamed Fellag, Sophie Nelisse, Emilien Neron and Marie-Ève Beauregard, Seddik Benslimane, Louis Champagne, Marie Charlebois, Nathalie Costa, Evelyne de la Chenelière, Stéphane Demers, Daniel Gadouas, Nicole-Sylvie Lagarde.

Falardeau is a young Canadian director with a wonderful sense for story telling on the silver screen. A strange and very unsettling occurrence has happened at a Montreal elementary school. The grade 6 teacher has hung herself at school and the body is discovered by two of the students Simon (Émilien Néron) and Alice (Sophie Nélisse). The principal, Madame Vaillancourt (Danielle Proulx), brings in a psychologist to help the students deal with this alarming, distressing reality.  Finding a replacement teacher is also a very difficult task. Coincidently Bachir Lazhar (Fellag), an immigrant from Algeria arrives on the scene having seen the newspaper ad for the replacement teacher. He manufactures a story that he has 20 years of teaching experience and is given the job. Bachir Lazhar quickly discovers that 6 graders do not like reading Honoré de Balzac and have no connection to the material at all. The rest of the story is M. Lazhar’s as we are drawn subtly into his personal world. Our hearts go out to this character who embodies the highest definition of the role of the teacher while struggling with possible deportation.  The supporting cast is so wonderfully picked to complete the telling of this emotionally powerful tale. It is truly worth Oscar recognition. Kudos to Fellag, the Algerian actor who captures the role completely.


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Monsieur Lazhar

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