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6th September by Margaret Wieringa
A teacher hangs herself in her primary school classroom, only to be discovered by one of her students. The class and the school are traumatised, and the principal is desperate to get a replacement – someone who will care for the students whilst still educating them. Step in Monsieur Lazhar, an Algerian immigrant who is still dealing with his own recent trauma.
The performances of the children in the film are fabulous, with not just the main roles, but also the smaller parts excellently executed. You can really feel the confusion and sadness as they struggle to figure out how they fit in to their teacher’s violent act.
In addition to this, the other teachers in the school are trying to work out how to continue with their lives and work out how the new teacher fits into their world.
Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film 2012 (the winner was Iranian film A Separation) and winning awards across the world, Monsieur Lahzar was also in the top ten audience awards at MIFF 2012.