Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Based on a play (so I have read in the credits), this French film was expertly written and directed by Philippe Falardeau. It stars Mohammed Fallag as "Bachir Lazhar" an Algerian who takes over as substitute teacher of a middle school class in Montreal. The previous teacher has hanged herself. (How this could be classified a "comedy" is beyond me! ) But, that being said, the drama, the brilliance of the acting by every single character is above reproach. The child actors are amazing, and as tragic as the circumstances that open the story, and are pivotal to the plot, there is a dramatic back story in the history of Monsieur Lazhar. Everything is gradually revealed at just the right time and in such a way as to keep you (at least it kept me!) fascinated throughout. And despite the topic of suicide, I did not find the film depressing. I wonder where they found such wonderful child actors? they were each and all totally real and believable, and certainly mostly wiser than most of their parents.