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Monsieur Lazhar

Directed by: Philippe Falard



Friday, June 29, 2012, 7pm - 9pm


Saturday, June 30, 2012, 7pm - 9pm

In Montreal, an elementary school teacher dies abruptly. Having learned of the incident in the newspaper, Bachir Lazhar (Mohamed Fellag), a 55-year-old Algerian immigrant, goes to the school to offer his services as a substitute teacher. Quickly hired to replace the deceased, he finds himself in an establishment in crisis, while going through his own personal tragedy. The cultural gap between Bachir and his class is made immediately apparent when he gives them a dictation exercise that is beyond their reach. Little by little, Bachir learns to better know this group of shaken but endearing kids, among whom are Alice and Simon, two charismatic pupils particularly affected by their teacher's death. While the class goes through the healing process, nobody in the school is aware of Bachir's painful past; nor do they suspect that he is at risk of being deported at any moment.

"Monsieur Lazhar is good. Really good. Philippe Falardeau's gentle, perceptive drama - which just won an audience award at Filmfest DC - takes viewers by the hand, not the throat, leading them through volatile emotional territory with assurance, compassion and lucid, steady-eyed calm. Deceptively simple and straightforward, Monsieur Lazhar resembles a clear, clean glass of water: transparent, utterly devoid of gratuitous flavorings or frou-frou, and all the more bracing and essential for it. Like that glass of cool water, Monsieur Lazhar achieves its own sort of crystalline perfection - in simply telling the truth, and telling the truth simply." - Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post

Nominated Academy Awards, Best Foreign Language Film, 2012 
Winner, Best Motion Picture, Genie Awards, 2012 
Winner Best Canadian Feature Film, Toronto International Film Festival, 2011

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