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L'école buissonnière (1949)

Soon after the Great War, the Provence village of Salezes gets a new boys' teacher: Mr. Pascal, a war hero with a diploma from a teachers' college. He rejects old methods: boys' sitting ... See full summary »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Juliette Faber ...
Lise Arnaud, l'institutrice
Édouard Delmont ...
M. Arnaud, le vieux maître (as Delmont)
Le coiffeur Pourpre / The Barber (as Ardisson)
Henri Arius ...
Le maire Hector Malicorne / The Mayor (as Arius)
Bréols ...
Géo Beuf ...
Georges Cahuzac ...
M. St. Saviole, Le 'novateur' / 'The innovator'
Louis Lions ...
Félix (as Lions)
Louisol ...
Le menuisier
Marcel Maupi ...
M. Alexandre, the pharmacist
Rilda ...
Le facteur
Sicard ...
Danny Caron ...
Cécile Simonin


Soon after the Great War, the Provence village of Salezes gets a new boys' teacher: Mr. Pascal, a war hero with a diploma from a teachers' college. He rejects old methods: boys' sitting still with arms folded memorizing facts. He uses modern methods: he becomes their guide. The boys build a water-powered electric generator, interview their parents about shoe-making and cooking, draw, write poetry, and, after Pascal brings a box of type, put their own magazine together, printed on the backs of old ballots. Their new interest in critical thinking stirs opposition from the mayor and others. The teacher offers a deal: if even one student fails the national exam, he'll resign. All eyes are on Albert, an older youth who has failed three times. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


From the Soul of France to the Hearts and Minds of the World See more »


Comedy | Drama





Release Date:

8 April 1949 (France)  »

Also Known As:

I Have a New Master  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Schoolteacher Celestin Freinet whose life and innovative educational methods are the subject of this movie, suited producer to have his name mentioned in the credits. See more »

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User Reviews

Learning by doing.
6 May 2007 | by See all my reviews

Dedicated to Mrs Montessori(Italy),Mr.Claparède (Switzerland) ,Mr Bekulé (Tchecoslovakia),Mr Décroly (Belgium) and to Mr Freinet (France).The latter's wife contributed to the screenplay ,and Monsieur Pascal is none other than Célestin Freinet.Celestin Freinet who was wounded in WW1 ,and thus could not talk very much so had to find new methods which revolutionized teaching skills.Unlike Monsieur Pascal,he did have to resign and to create his own schools.Even today ,even if you are not in a Freinet school,you can feel his influence here there and everywhere:if it had not been for him,education would perhaps have remained purely theoretical.

Now for the film.

First of all,this is a GOOD movie,nay,a splendid one,regarded in context.Jean-Paul Le Chanois,too often dismissed by those fusty Cahiers Du Cinema (which should be relegated to the archives,we are in 2007 dash it!),outdoes himself and gives his best film ever.Bernard Blier is wonderful as Monsieur Pascal.We all would like to be his pupils.With him,gone is the iron discipline ,gone is the lesson you learned by heart even if you did not understand a single word of it,gone is the dunce the teacher shamefully hides in the back of his classroom.Monsieur Pascal loves all his pupils,he wants to give them all a chance:the classroom's dunce,reciting the 1789 Declaration des Droits de L'Homme et du Citoyen -which is much more important to Mr Pascal,and now to the youngster himself than the future

tense ,an arithmetic operation or the Sun King's death- in front of the board of examiners during his "Certificat d' Etude" (certificate formerly obtained by pupils at the end of primary school;it no longer exists) climaxes the movie.

WW1 was just over -and in 1948 ,when the film was made,WW2 was just over too- so the time had come to face the changes..Pascal displays the same enthusiasm,the same faith in man and the same joie de vivre as the youth of Jacques Becker's "Rendez-vous de Juillet".He believes in social advancement:the antique dealer's attitude is revealing ,by preventing the old lady from selling for a song her valuable piece of furniture ,they begin to rebel against the establishment for the first time:for that man ,being part of the city council has got the power in his hands.

"Let there be light" is Mr Pascal's motto.When he sees an old typewriter he thinks " printing" and as Gutenberg did at the end of the Middle Ages,he is ready to take his pupils out of obscurantism.

Another remarkable fact:

the women,who would not vote,who were not part of the city council are often smarter than their hubbies.A blind woman "feels" the good vibrations ,she feels that now children are happier,more responsible .Only naive viewers are still thinking that Truffaut was the first to turn his attention to the brats' misfortunes in Rousseau's land.Le Chanois was one of the first to start a mini-woman 's lib :this is already present here,this will be more obvious in "Le Cas Du Docteur Laurent" (1957) ,a plea for painless childbirth.

Joseph Kosma's music is magnificent :during the cast and credits,it is so stirring,so infectious that we are sure the film will not disappoint us.Something like the music George Van Parys would write for "Si Tous Les Gars du Monde" (1956).This tuneful piece will be used again music box style when the children draw the poor cat's story and sung by the whole classroom to support their dear teacher threatened by the antique dealer and his bourgeois friends.

There are so many things to write about "l'Ecole Buissonnière" : teachers of the world,you have got to see it .... and to show it to your pupils to make them comprehend how lucky they are to work with their computers,in their modern classrooms : there was a time when teachers had to invent everything: a water-powered electric generator which the children,learning by doing,built ,and let there be light!

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