How do we learn to live with others and their wishes? Director Nicolas Philibert poses this question in a village schoolhouse in Auvergne, where Georges Lopez teaches 13 children, ages ranging from about four to 12. Against a landscape of mountains and farmland, from driving snow to rain to sun, the children gather in Lopez's warm and colorful classroom, to read, write dictation, cook, and sort things out. At home, the older ones do homework with parents after their chores. At year's end, they look ahead to the next, visiting the middle school and meeting the little ones coming in the fall. As they learn sums and adjectives, with Lopez's help, they also learn to live side by side. Written by
This is a real feel good movie. A documentary that captures life in a small village in France anchored by the one room school and it's teacher Monsieur Lopez. Life is not easy for family farmers anywhere but this film shows the rewards of this particular village school. The older children show warmth and protection toward the little ones. It is the whole idea that it takes a village and if not that at least a good teacher. His clam demeanor is reflected in the calmness of the children
that is if they are not too upset, but Monsier never yells, at least
not during the film. My french professor yelled constantly and insulted every imperfection, but Monsier Lopez is gentle and kind even when he scolds his students. He follows a cadence that seems to be an echo of the countryside where they live and the movie seems to also follow this cadence. Those of us who have spent most of our lives in cities might feel the urge to scream during the movie, but resist that urge and try to observe and not direct the flow of the film. There are wonderful moments of the humanity of young children and pre-adolescents. Some are funny and some are heart rendering, but all are real.
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