To Be and to Have (2002)
"Être et avoir" (original title)

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A documentary portrait of a one-room school in rural France, where the students (ranging in age from 4 to 11) are educated by a single dedicated teacher.


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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 8 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Georges Lopez ...
Alizé ...
Les enfants de la classe
Axel Thouvenin ...
Les enfants de la classe (as Axel)
Guillaume ...
Les enfants de la classe
Jessie ...
Les enfants de la classe
Johan ...
Les enfants de la classe - Jojo
Johann ...
Les enfants de la classe
Jonathan ...
Les enfants de la classe
Julien ...
Les enfants de la classe
Laura ...
Les enfants de la classe
Létitia ...
Les enfants de la classe
Marie-Elizabeth ...
Les enfants de la classe
Nathalie ...
Les enfants de la classe
Olivier ...
Les enfants de la classe
Franck ...
Les frères et soeurs, les nouveaux...


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Release Date:

28 August 2002 (France)  »

Also Known As:

To Be and to Have  »

Box Office


€1,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$823,788 (France) (30 August 2002)


$775,607 (USA) (11 June 2004)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Chosen by "Telerama" (France) as one of the 10 best pictures of 2002 (#05) See more »


Featured in Zomergasten: Episode #17.2 (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

Documentary as impressionism
21 November 2004 | by See all my reviews

A stunning document on the nature of education as captured in beautiful, impressionistic pulses. The sights, the sounds; a construction of utmost simplicity whose structure, diaphanous and fluid, ignores commentary in favor of the subtleties of humanity, maturation and interaction that emerge from the froth of randomness that tethers each day to the next.

"Être et Avoir," the title, is presumably a reference to the two most important verbs used (and the earliest learned) in both French and English, "To be and To have," echoing the film's theme of capturing the struggle to acquire knowledge and, eventually, the struggle to impart it.

21 of 24 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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