|Original title:||Monsieur Lazhar|
|Production country:||Kanada 2011|
|Running time:||Ca. 94 min.|
A primary school in Quebec is afflicted by a tragic incident: one of the teachers hangs herself in her class and is discovered by one of the students. The headmistress is overwhelmed by the situation, as she has to ensure that the children receive psychological care on the one hand, but on the other she also has to provide for replacements and restore everyday school life as quickly as possible. So it comes just in time for her that the Algerian Bazhir Lazahr (Fellag) applies for the job. Although the man has no references and has not been in the country for long, he makes a competent impression, which eventually gives him the post of substitute teacher. Although his teaching methods initially met with little approval among the children, Monsieur Lazahr gradually succeeded in winning the trust of his students and thus helping them to cope with their teacher's suicide. But what nobody at school suspects is that the gentle bazhir himself has a hard time carrying his past and could be expelled at any moment of the day...
With his Oscar nominated drama "Monsieur Lazhar" director Philippe Falardeau has created a real feat. The story the film tells is full of sad elements, drama and tragedy. The teacher's suicide, traumatized children, the painful memories that Monsieur Lazahr carries around with him, and the always threatening expulsion above him are not actually ingredients that make up the feel-good cinema. And yet the film has a thoroughly positive, optimistic charisma, which releases the viewer happily from the cinema even without an overly obvious happy ending.
The restrained staging, which spices up the dramatic events again and again with quiet humour, is just as responsible for this as the authentic play of the actors. The Algerian comedian and writer Fellag carries the story with a lot of charisma and engaging charm, refraining in the decisive moments from putting too much sentimentality into his play, so that his feelings always remain comprehensible. This intensifies the emotional impact of the story enormously.
The outstandingly selected children's actors also make a considerable contribution to making the film work so well. Director Falardeau has brought out a very authentic game out of the children, that doesn't only seem believable in the smaller emotions, but also in the bigger emotional moments. The interplay between the children and Fellag gives the film an endearing charm, which the viewer is only too happy to indulge in.
"Monsieur Lazhar" may be a small, actually completely unspectacular film. But the drama impressively proves that it is sometimes the little stories that have the greatest effect on the audience. Whoever appreciates entertaining, emotional and first-class played program movie fare should not miss this movie. Worth seeing
An article by Frankfurt-Tipp