Monsieur Lazhar

February 21, 20138:30pm

In Montreal, an elementary school teacher hangs herself. Bachir Lazhar, a recent Algerian immigrant, then offers his services to replace her, claiming to have taught in his home country. Desperate to fill the position, the principal, Mme Vaillancourt, takes him at his word and gives him the job. He gets to know his students despite both the evident culture gap and his difficulty adapting to the school system’s constraints.

As the children try to move on from their former teacher’s suicide, nobody at the school is aware of Bachir’s painful past, or his precarious status as a refugee. His wife, who was a teacher and writer, died along with the couple’s daughter and son in an arson attack. The murderers were angered by her last book, in which she pointed a finger at those responsible for the country’s reconciliation, which had led to the liberation of many perpetrators of serious crimes.

The film goes on to explore Bachir’s relationships with the students and faculty, and how the students come to grips with their former teacher’s suicide. One student, Alice, writes an assignment on the death of their teacher, revealing the deep pain and confusion felt by each of the students.

‘A film to cherish.’ Limelight.

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Film Information
Release year: 2011
Running time:   94 mins
Directed by: Philippe Falardeau
Language: Arabic, English, French
Country: Canada
Classification: 12A
Genre: Drama
Starring: Mohamed Fellag,
Sophie Nélisse,
Émilien Néron,
Danielle Proulx,
Brigitte Poupart,
Jules Philip

6 Genie awards
WFC Audience Score:  90%

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