Posted by Terry on March 14, 2012

GPLT’s Movie Series, the winter series of feature films affiliated with the Reel Shorts Film Festival, has saved the best for last as this year’s season ends on Sunday with the Oscar-nominated Canadian drama Monsieur Lazhar. In addition to winning accolades internationally, this heartwarming French-language (English subtitled) PG-rated film won 6 Genie Awards for Best Film, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Director, Best Editing and Best Adapted Screenplay.

Monsieur Lazhar is the story of an Algerian immigrant who is hired to replace a Montreal elementary school teacher who died tragically.  As he helps the children cope with their shock and grief, he must come to terms with his own tragic past.

Brought to Grande Prairie in partnership with Film Circuit, a division of the Toronto International Film Festival, Monsieur Lazhar won Best Canadian Feature Film at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival as well as the UPC Audience Award at the Rotterdam International Film Festival to name just a few of the awards it has received.

At the Rotterdam International Film Festival, Writer/Director Philippe Falardeau was interviewed before the screening of the film. I found the 22-minute interview to be very entertaining while providing great insight into the kind of man he is and what drew him to adapt this play into a film. But the set design? Interesting to say the least.  Skip past the introduction and the the trailer to get to the interview which is in English.

The film has also been a hit with reviewers.  In his review in the Montreal Gazette on January 17, Brendan Kelly noted that Writer/Director Philippe Falardeau’s “adaptation of Evelyne de la Chenelière’s play avoids the maudlin at all costs, keeps things refreshingly understated and manages to deliver charming comic moments in the telling of what could have been a grim story.”

In a Postmedia News review in which she gave the film 4 stars, Katherine Monk wrote that “Monsieur Lazhar proves you can bring an audience to tears with the gentlest caress and the simplest of stories, as long as you’re sincere.”

Tickets are $10 (students $5) at the door or purchase advance tickets at the GPLT Box Office at 10130 – 98 Avenue (phone 538-1616).

Monsieur Lazhar photo

Alice (Sophie Nélisse) and Bachir Lazhar (Mohamed Fellag)

Monsieur Lazhar photo 2

Simon (Émilien Néron)

Monsieur Lazhar photo 3

Bachir Lazhar (Mohamed Fellag)

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