Monsieur Lazhar review

The Audience Award winner plays at MIFF and Bec Butterworth reviews

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When a beloved teacher at an inner urban primary school in Quebec takes her own life, an entire class of children struggle to come to terms with what has happened. Their new teacher, Bachir Lazhar (Mohamed Fellag), has experienced tragedy of his own, and understands that sometimes, tragedy has no meaning, and some trauma cannot be understood. Mr Lazhar struggles to help his students by relying on common sense to teach, uncomfortable with the politically correct cocoon in which his students are encapsulated. Two of these students, Sophie and Simon, are especially disturbed by the death of their teacher, and Mr Lazhar begins to reach out, with varied success.

Monsieur Lazhar is both beautiful and intelligent, and is one of the most uplifting films you will see. Picturesque and tender, with superb cinematography by Ronald Plant and directed by Philippe Falardeau, this is a film that teachers MUST see, and that will give you back your faith in innocence, and hope for whatever generation comes after Y. This movie will restore your joy, and is my pick of the Melbourne International Film Festival for feel good so far.

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