Monsieur Lazhar (2011)
Bachir Lazhar, an Algerian immigrant, is hired to replace an elementary school teacher who died tragically. While the class goes through a long healing process, nobody in the school is aware of Bachir's painful former life; nor that he is at risk of being deported at any moment. Adapted from Evelyne de la Cheneliere's play, Bachir Lazhar depicts the encounter between two distant worlds and the power of self-expression. Using great sensitivity and humor, Philippe Falardeau follows a humble man who is ready to transcend his own loss in order to accompany children beyond the silence and taboo of death.- Written by micro_scope
Montréal public grade school teacher Martine Lachance has just committed suicide by hanging in her classroom. One of her pupils, Simon, is the one that finds her, although another of her students, Alice, also ends up seeing the hanging dead body. Beyond the provision of grief counseling, Mme. Vaillancourt, the school's principal, has a difficult time finding a replacement teacher because of the gruesome nature of the death, which is why she hires Algerian immigrant, Bachir Lazhar, despite her reservations in doing so. Lazhar lied about both his background and his Canadian residency status to get the job. In reality, he is going through the refugee claimant process to stay in Canada, that process which includes digging up the painful reason for leaving Algeria without his wife and two children. Lazhar goes through a steep learning curve in teaching his class of eleven and twelve year olds, his style and methods which resemble old school teaching, such as hitting the students as discipline and using antiquated teaching terminology. As he progresses through the year, his interactions with both his students and school colleagues shows Lazhar that perhaps it is time to move on with his life in every aspect. However, Martine's death hangs over the classroom like the unspoken elephant in the room, especially as it has to do with Simon and Alice's relationship with each other since the death.- Written by Huggo
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