Fond de l'Etang is a boarding school for troubled boys located in the French countryside. In the mid-twentieth century, it is run by the principal M. Rachin, an egotistical disciplinarian whose official unofficial mantra for the school is "action - reaction", meaning that there will be severe consequences for any boy out of line. This approach does not seem to be working as the boys as a collective are an unruly bunch. In turn, the teachers don't teach, but are always watching out for the next subversive act from the boys. January 15, 1949 marks the arrival to the school of the new supervisor, M. Clément Mathieu, a middle-aged man who is grasping at finding his place in life after a series of failed endeavors. Although he does find the boys an unruly lot, Mathieu does not believe in the "action - reaction" policy, and as such, butts heads with Rachin while secretly undermining the policy. Slowly, Mathieu's approach of trying to match the discipline to the crime does have a positive ...Written by
This is funny how people get from one extreme to another about this movie. When I saw the movie it was in a Citadelle in an open air cinema by the French Riviera (Villefranche sur Mer, very very nice). The friend I went to see it with said to me: "I give you the tissues now because I predict you will cry like a baby". And I cried like a baby. The story made me think about Sister Act ONLY IN THE STORY!!! A failed musician converting a group of difficult children into a choir... But this version of the story is way above the American one. Gérard Jugnot is really great. I like him very much since he has abandoned his comic roles. I loved him in Le meilleur Espoir Feminin and Monsieur Batignole. I think he's an great actor as he can convey a lot of emotions, from laughter to sincere emotion. At last, the fact that all the children are not professional actors adds to the sincerity of the film which should won at least an Academy Award this year if the Americans still can be sensitive about sincerity...
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