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
After Etre et Avoir received so many awards and was met with such fanfare, the teacher, Georges Lopez, sued the producer for compensation. Contractually he and the students were paid a set amount of money (low-budget documentary prices), however Lopez did promotional tours and thought he deserved a larger share after the film's success. The French judge did not rule in his favour. See more »
I didnt want to go and see this film. seriously. I got dragged along to see it in London as part of my media studies course, and me and my friends were determiend to get out of seeing it, any way we possibly could, and go shopping instead.
needless to say, we didnt manage it, and I'm actually pretty glad.
this was one of the best documentaries I've ever seen. coming from a family where both my parents are teaching in the same age-range as mr Lopez, this film had a certain mirror-image quality for me, which made it hit even closer to home. Being British, some of tend to look a the French as an Alien species (sorry!) and seeing a French teacher in some of the same situations as my parents of faced was amazingly poignant.
the amount of time and Effort that Lopez put into his teaching was beautiful to behold. his compassion and cool manner makes me think that just about every school in the world can benefit from a teacher like him.
In criticism, however, I do beleive that the editing was used to make it appear that Lopez remained PERMANENTLY calm. I've been with teachers in a classroom situation, and even with a class that small, its impossiblwe to keep your cool all the time. I would have appreciated some scenes of Lopez having to deal with any anger he might have occasionally faced. it might have added even more humanity to his persoanlity, and although I empathises with him, the only pure emotion we see from him is at the end, when the tears in his eyes as his class leaves are painfully apparent.
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