Adapting the play by Evelyne de la Chenelière, director Philippe Falardeau brings a luminous warmth to this affecting story of an Algerian emigre who finds work as a teacher in a Montreal elementary school. Bachir Lazhar (Fellag), who is applying for refugee status, inherits his job from a beloved teacher who has hanged herself in her classroom. Despite that melodramatic premise, the drama is supremely sensitive and understated, as Lazhar—recovering from his own family tragedy—tries to adapt to the liberal classroom culture in Quebec. As in his previous film (C’est n’est pas moi, je le jure!), Falardeau gets wonderful performances from his child actors.
FILED UNDER: Hotlist