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Monsieur Lazhar

Film Festival

Session Times at the Rialto

Friday September 14 - 6:15pm

Monday September 17 - 11:00am

An Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language Film and deserving winner of every key Canadian film award this year, Monsieur Lazhar is a sensitively understated teacher/student drama that accumulates surprising affirmative emotional power. Monsieur Lazhar, an Algerian immigrant in Montreal, is a mysterious, high-minded, rather old-fashioned individual who puts himself forward as a substitute after the tragic death of a popular teacher. The children have been left traumatised and Lazhar addresses their distress, delicately, but in much more direct terms than the school authorities and some parents deem appropriate. Though secure in his convictions, he’s no crusading hero, still harbouring trauma of his own and evading close scrutiny from his fellow teachers. This is not a film with villains, but it generates aching sympathy for Lazhar's transgressions of accepted form. Basing his script on a one-man stage play by Évelyne de la Chenelière (who has a cameo as a mother in the movie) director Phillippe Falardeau draws flawlessly nuanced performances from actor Fellag and from young Émilien Néron and Sophie Nélisse as the two children most in need of intervention, one craving it, the other avoiding it at all costs. — BG 

Monsieur Lazhar sustains an exquisite balance between grown-up and child’s-eye views of education, teacher-student relations and peer-group interactions. The students come quirkily alive in superb, naturalistic performances devoid of cuteness and stereotyping. Like no other film about middle school life that I can recall Monsieur Lazhar conveys the intensity and the fragility of these classroom bonds and the mutual trust they require.” — Stephen Holden, NY Times

Cliquez ici pour la bande d'annonce.

A Montréal, Bachir Lazhar, un immigré algérien, est embauché au pied levé pour remplacer une enseignante de primaire disparue subitement. Il apprend peu à peu à connaître et à s’attacher à ses élèves malgré le fossé culturel qui se manifeste dès la première leçon. Pendant que la classe amorce un lent processus de guérison, personne à l’école ne soupçonne le passé douloureux de Bachir, qui risque l’expulsion du pays à tout moment.