Laurence, a young schoolteacher from Lyons, takes a week's leave. During the break, she reflects on her career and her personal life.Laurence, a young schoolteacher from Lyons, takes a week's leave. During the break, she reflects on her career and her personal life.Laurence, a young schoolteacher from Lyons, takes a week's leave. During the break, she reflects on her career and her personal life.
Catherine Anne Duperray
- Josiane Lalande, le professeur chahuté
- (as Catherine-Anne Duperray)
- La mère de Claudine
- La petite fille
The hardest part is to listen
I have my own take on this masterpiece by the great Bertrand Tavernier and that is to listen; to listen to others and to oneself. Talk to others, but listen to others. Laurence played by Nathalie Baye ( who is one of France's finest actors ) is a schoolteacher and she is having a breakdown. She either has to stay in her profession, stay with her lover who adores her or move on. Is moving on the answer or staying still ? By talking to others she spends her time out from school and tries to make a decision. She listens to the problems of those around her and she is a child again in the classroom of life, and painfully and slowly she learns what a sublime horror it is to be human. This film is a masterpiece because it explores both on a personal level and on a societal level. We all have problems of ageing, loving and eventually dying in a world that seems to make of us just a number. A song of the day, about being just a number plays more than once and Tavernier shows with intelligent persuasion that a pop song and a bad television programme can also help us understand life and to live. There is a wonderful kick at Opera in the film that had me cheering. Most need the smallest and most popular things to survive. That includes dialogue, which the film is full of and through dialogue with others we just may be strong enough to continue, to cohabit with an unjust world and to grow into just being ourselves. The scenario is full of working people, and not the luxury class of those who can afford not to care or who just feed off others without giving. A lot of cinema depicts these people but in this film they are not there. True life is richer than the laziness and opportunism of the rich. I am astonished this film has only 4 reviews. People not wanting to listen perhaps ? Forty years on and in desperate times this film has perhaps greater relevance than in 1980 and a big thank you for Tavernier, Baye and all of the other actors for making this essential film what it is. It maybe ' old ' to some, but looks as fresh to me as its first outing in the cinema.
- May 15, 2020
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