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Monsieur Lazhar (2011)

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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.

Director:

Philippe Falardeau

Writers:

Philippe Falardeau (screenplay), Evelyne de la Chenelière (play)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 30 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Mohamed Fellag ... Bachir Lazhar (as Fellag)
Sophie Nélisse ... Alice L'Écuyer
Émilien Néron ... Simon
Marie-Ève Beauregard Marie-Ève Beauregard ... Marie-Frédérique
Vincent Millard Vincent Millard ... Victor
Seddik Benslimane ... Abdelmalek
Louis-David Leblanc Louis-David Leblanc ... Boris
Gabriel Verdier ... Jordan
Marianne Soucy-Lord Marianne Soucy-Lord ... Shanel
Danielle Proulx ... Mme Vaillancourt
Brigitte Poupart Brigitte Poupart ... Claire
Jules Philip Jules Philip ... Gaston
Louis Champagne ... Concierge
Daniel Gadouas ... Me Gilbert Danis
Francine Ruel ... Mme Dumas
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Storyline

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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, a disturbing image and brief language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site | See more »

Country:

Canada

Language:

French | English | Arabic

Release Date:

7 March 2012 (Belgium) See more »

Also Known As:

Profesor Lazhar See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$112,190, 15 April 2012, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$2,009,517

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$9,074,711
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

micro_scope See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Canada's official submission to the Best Foreign Language Film category of the 84th Academy Awards 2012. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Taxi (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Cry Cry Cry
Written and performed by Jason Kent
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User Reviews

 
Heart-Warming and Heart-Wrenching
8 May 2012 | by FilmPulseSee all my reviews

Monsieur Lazhar is another in a long line of inspirational teacher films set to show viewers that teachers are an unending source of inspiration and worldly advice. I have grown tired of this plot line and subsequent variations, but Monsieur Lazhar is a shining example of the inspirational teacher film and the poignancy of said films if executed correctly, with honesty and maturity.

Philippe Falardeau's (It's Not Me, I Swear and Congorama) film adaption of Evelyne de la Chenelière's play (she also plays Alice's mother), Monsieur Lazhar was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Foreign Language Film category as the official Canadian submission. The film tells the story of Bachir Lazhar (Mohamed Fellag), an Algerian immigrant hired at Montreal public grade school after the original teacher was found hanging from the ceiling of her classroom. The teacher, Martine Lachance, was found by one of her students, Simon (Émilien Néron) while he was delivering milk to the classroom as he always does every Thursday. The film continues to show the effects of death and the ways that the children try to deal with the loss, but also their grief, which at times seem to be stifled by the school.

Monsieur Lazhar, at the same time, is dealing with a loss of his own; having come to Canada seeking asylum and waiting for his wife and children to join him, only to have his family killed the night before they were supposed to leave Algeria. The film cuts between Bachir in the classroom (having the children do a dictation of Balzac, rearranging their desks, etc.) and Bachir outside of the classroom (picking up his wife's belongings, preparing for a hearing, etc.). No one knows of his painful past, nor of his refugee status; the school is under the impression that he is a permanent resident of Canada.

Bachir notices, because of his current dealing with grief, that the children are trying to communicate or express their feelings about the death of their teacher. The school has brought on a psychologist to help the children come to grips with their loss. Bachir realizes that it is merely a stop-gap, but is told "not to make waves". He continues to witness things that lead him to believe that the children want to talk about their teacher, Martine and also of the trouble they are having trying to understand something that may well be beyond their comprehension.

Monsieur Lazhar is a heart-warming, but at the same time, heart-wrenching story of how people (whether it be children or adults) trying to come to terms with the loss of a family member (albeit for the children it was a teacher, but school, at that young age, can be something like a second home). Bachir, himself, uses a very personal and poignant short story, that he wrote himself and reads to his class, in an effort to say goodbye - something that Martine Lachance never did. The film features some great performances from Mohamed Fellag as Monsieur Lazhar, Émilien Néron as Simon - a guilt-ridden child that feels responsible for his teacher's suicide - and Sophie Nélisse as Alice, the surprisingly mature young girl that has the courage to speak about the effects of Martine's decisions.

Kevin FilmPulse.net


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