IMDb > It All Starts Today (1999)

It All Starts Today (1999) More at IMDbPro »Ça commence aujourd'hui (original title)

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Release Date:
12 March 1999 (France) See more »
Daniel is schoolmaster of a kindergarten in a small French town. The local economy, which depended entirely on coal production... See more » | Add synopsis »
11 wins & 8 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
It's about the children See more (26 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Philippe Torreton ... Daniel Lefebvre
Maria Pitarresi ... Valeria
Nadia Kaci ... Samia Damouni
Véronique Ataly ... Mrs. Lienard
Nathalie Bécue ... Cathy

Emmanuelle Bercot ... Mrs. Tievaux
Françoise Bette ... Mrs. Delacourt

Christine Citti ... Mrs. Baudoin
Christina Crevillén ... Sophie
Sylviane Goudal ... Gloria
Didier Bezace ... Inspector
Betty Teboulle ... Mrs. Henry
Gérard Giroudon ... Mayor
Marief Guittier ... Daniel's mother
Daniel Delabesse ... Marc
Jean-Claude Frissung ... Director's colleague
Thierry Gibault ... Police inspector
Philippe Meyer ... Council member
Gerald Cesbron ... Mr. Henry
Michelle Goddet ... Beaten child's mother
Stefan Elbaum ... Beaten child's uncle
Nathalie Desprez ... Mrs. Bry

Françoise Miquelis ... Mrs. Duhem
Frédéric Richard ... Mr. Bacheux
Johanne Cornil-Leconte ... Mrs. Bacheux
Sylvie Delbauffe ... Woman with baby
Lambert Marchal ... Rémi
Kelly Mercier ... Laetitia
Mathieu Lenne ... Jimmy
Rémi Henneuse ... Kevin
Corinne Aghte ... Mrs. Paquotte
Dominique Bouchard ... Doctor
Benoît Constant ... Daniel's father
Patrick Courteix ... Mrs. Henry's neighbor
Véronique Dargent ... Mrs. Loiseau
Valérie Dermagne ... Nurse
Lilyane Discret ... Young mother
Leila Duhem ... Mrs. Polliaert
Yamina Duvivier ... Mrs. Chimot
Séverine Fernand ... Angeline's mother
Catherine Gorosz ... Mrs. Daumise
Christophe Guichet ... Daniel's brother
Nadia Ikisse ... Mrs. Mimouni
Marie-Madeleine Langlois ... Neighbour's wife
Nelly Larachiche ... Mrs. Legrand
France Leroy ... Café owner
Claude Liénard ... Mrs. Henry's doctor
Marcelle Loutre ... Guegdan's mother
Jacky Meunier ... Valeria's father
Cécile Montagnon ... Mrs. Lamart
Michèle Niewrzeda ... Mrs. Bornat
Vincenza Orologio ... Valeria's mother
Marie-Françoise Prette ... Mrs. Marchal
Linda Prudhomme ... Mrs. Dupuis
Monique Quivy ... Dining hall lady
Claude Ronnaux ... Colleague
Françoise Sage ... Mrs. Mériaux
Pascale Verdière ... Nanny

Directed by
Bertrand Tavernier 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Dominique Sampiero  writer
Bertrand Tavernier  writer
Tiffany Tavernier  writer

Produced by
Frédéric Bourboulon .... producer
Alain Sarde .... producer
Original Music by
Louis Sclavis 
Cinematography by
Alain Choquart 
Film Editing by
Sophie Brunet 
Art Direction by
Thierry François 
Costume Design by
Marpessa Djian 
Makeup Department
Beya Gasmi .... key hair stylist
Agnès Tassel .... makeup artist
Production Management
Jean-Louis Bergamini .... assistant unit manager
Benoît Charrie .... unit manager
Sébastien Coulet .... assistant unit manager
François Hamel .... production manager
Olivier Lagny .... assistant unit manager
Henry Le Turc .... assistant unit manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Pierre Abela .... first assistant director
Sylvie Confolent .... assistant director
Fanny Etienne .... assistant director
Tiffany Tavernier .... first assistant director
Art Department
Denis Bourgier .... property buyer
François Decaux .... first assistant decorator
Paul Decaux .... property master
Sylvie Grand d'Esnon .... head painter
Gabriel Passajou .... construction manager
Sound Department
Jean-Michel Chauvet .... sound assistant
Michel Desrois .... sound
Judith Guittier .... assistant foley artist
Gérard Lamps .... sound re-recording mixer
Didier Lizé .... sound engineer
Laurent Lévy .... foley artist
Elisabeth Paquotte .... sound editor
Alain Primot .... assistant sound editor
Christian Riffard .... post-production audio
Eric Tisserand .... sound mixer
Camera and Electrical Department
Éric Alirol .... electrician
Christophe Asselin .... second assistant camera
Albert Bonomi .... key grip
Marc Casi .... grip
Philippe Deneau .... gaffer
Arnaud Desbuquois .... grip
Christian Inizan .... gaffer
Alain Martigny .... electrician
Philippe Renaud .... first assistant camera (as Philippe Renaut)
Xavier Tauveron .... assistant camera: second unit
Jürgen Vollmer .... still photographer
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Valérie Le Hello .... costumer
Editorial Department
Florence Dard .... post-production coordinator
Olivier Fontenay .... color timer
Isabelle Julien .... color timer
Guillaume Lebel .... trainee assistant editor
Sophie Mandonnet .... assistant editor
Music Department
Jean-François Canape .... musician: Trumpet and bugle
Bruno Chevillon .... musician: contrabasse
Christophe Marguet .... musician: drums
Jean Pepeck .... orchestra leader
François Raulin .... musician: piano
Yves Robert .... musician: trombone
Louis Sclavis .... musician: Clarinets and Saxophones
Other crew
Sylvie Chevereau-Marchais .... production administrator
Lucilio Da Costa Pais .... groupman
Phil Hall .... film publicist
Agnès Le Pont .... general administrator
Florence Loubeau .... production secretary
Zoe Zurstrassen .... script supervisor

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Ça commence aujourd'hui" - France (original title)
See more »
117 min
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Movie Connections:
References Germinal (1993)See more »


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11 out of 13 people found the following review useful.
It's about the children, 27 January 2003
Author: Howard Schumann from Vancouver, B.C.

"Teaching tugs at the heart, opens the heart, even breaks the heart, And the more one loves teaching, the more heartbreaking it can be." - Parker Palmer, a veteran educator

Daniel Lefebvre (Philippe Torreton) is teacher and director of the école maternelle, a pre-school open to children ages 2 to 6 in northern France. In Bernard Tavernier's deeply moving film, It All Starts Today, the children are the stars. Their faces and loving smiles shine through the grimness of their circumstances. Based on the notebooks of Tavernier's son-in-law Dominique Sampiero, a provincial teacher, the film is about the difficulties and challenges of children but is also a tribute to the courage and commitment of teachers. Lefebvre is a poet whose voice-over narration adds a touching lyricism to the film. "We'll tell our children it was hard", he writes. "Piles of stones placed one by one. We'll tell the children it was hard but their fathers are lords and this is their legacy. A pile of stones and the courage to lift them".

The school is in a town that has been hit hard by the closure of the coal mine, and where unemployment has reached 34 percent. Lefebvre is a gentle and compassionate teacher but a tough administrator who tries to shake the political bureaucracy into providing adequate programs for the school. He protests loudly against budget cuts and insensitive government regulations and the shortage of trained professionals. Lefebvre shows anger and frustration in the scene where he slams the door in the face of a visiting social worker, and when he storms into the Mayor's office to rail against cutbacks in the school lunch program. He is hardest on himself, however, when tragedy befalls an alcoholic mother and her family, and when his common-law wife Valeria's (Maria Pitteresi) young son Remi (Lambert Marchal) gets into trouble, challenging his commitment to return to the school the following year.

The problems of the school are severe but not exaggerated. Being the husband of a pre-school teacher I know the kinds of circumstances that parents and teachers face every day and they are not that different from those shown in the film. Tavernier does not idealize the poor or romanticize their circumstances but shows us conditions as they exist. This is a message film and we do get the message, but it doesn't seem preachy because it comes from a passion that springs naturally from the lives of the characters. But the magic of the film lies in the children themselves. There is no acting or interpretation. The camera zooms around the school with lightning speed catching the spontaneity of the children singing, dancing, talking, playing, and just being themselves. It All Starts Today does not offer any simple solutions and can be dark, but, at the end, when each child comes up to the camera for a final smile I felt only lightness and joy. Being around children and adults with courage will do that.

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