Monsieur Lazhar

Watched with mum, children being important to us both.

In a word — Beautiful. From opening credits to closing key everything was in proportion, no character too large or too perfect.

The cinematography was understated but ever present, the long and significant one take of the ‘discovery’ scene is far and away the longest take of the film, a perfect, eery entry to the subject. From there the shots become shorter. Everything is shot tight, only allowing into the frame what belongs in it.

The emotion of the film is heightened by the formality imposed by the classroom and the school, in this context director Philippe Falardeau is able to reveal each characters’ inner turmoil by turns. A story of grief, from multiple sources, some shared, some private, some resolved, much not. Sophie Nélisse and Mohamed Fellag are exceptional.

Scored perfectly, every note attached to a moment, and only where it was wanted.

I didn’t know before watching it that it was adapted from a play, Bashir Lazhar by Évelyne de la Chenelière, a one character play.

See also: Monsieur Lazhar: An Interview with Philippe Falardeau