At a Montréal public grade school, an Algerian immigrant is hired to replace a popular teacher who committed suicide in her classroom. While helping his students deal with their grief, his own recent loss is revealed.
Teacher François Marin and his colleagues are preparing for another school year teaching at a racially mixed inner city high school in Paris. The teachers talk to each other about their prospective students, both the good and the bad. The teachers collectively want to inspire their students, but each teacher is an individual who will do things in his or her own way to achieve the results they desire. They also have differing viewpoints on the students themselves, and how best to praise and discipline them. The administration of the school tries to be as fair as possible, which includes having student representatives sit on the student evaluation committee. Marin's class this year of fourteen and fifteen year olds is no different than previous years, although the names and faces have changed. Marin tries to get through to his students, sometimes with success and sometimes resulting in utter failure. Even Marin has his breaking point, which may result in him doing things he would ... Written by
Best movie I've seen since No Country For Old Men. And you won't hear these two titles mentioned together too often.
The greatest accomplishment was in re-creating, in naturalistic documentary style, well....a classroom. And although it's almost half a century since I participated in such an environment, it seems not an awful lot has changed (well, apart from the total disrespect shown by many of the children towards their mentor). They were all there, mouthy, loud, quiet, bright, stupid. And real, or so it appeared.
Dead Poets Society it ain't. Remarkably free from schmaltz, the film traces a reasonably undramatic class year, with its group dynamics, teacher cock ups, mutinies - pupils that is - with a very small sprinkling of what is being taught academically. The result should have been fairly prosaic and I suppose it was, but I was transfixed by the skill of the players the art of the director and the total ordinariness of the people being so brilliantly portrayed. A terrific achievement by all.
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