Veteran director Philippe Falardeau’s drama about an Algerian refugee who becomes a substitute teacher in a Montreal elementary school is one of the most acclaimed Québécois films of the last decade.
Directed by veteran filmmaker Philippe Falardeau, Monsieur Lazhar is one of the most acclaimed Québécois films of the last decade and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. After a Montreal elementary school teacher commits suicide one night after class, she is replaced by Bachir Lazhar (Fellag), an Algerian refugee seeking asylum in Quebec. As Lazhar introduces traditional teaching methods to his new class, he begins to develop close relationships with two of his pupils: a boy traumatized by his discovery of the former teacher’s body, and a girl whose interpretation of the event provokes unforeseen revelations. “Like no other film about middle school life that I can recall, Monsieur Lazhar conveys the intensity and the fragility [of] classroom bonds and the mutual trust they require” (Stephen Holden, The New York Times).