Monsieur Lazhar is nominated for Best Foreign Language film. In my country, it’s a domestic language. It was even made in my country. It’s the Canadian entry to to The Oscars. Last year, Canada’s entry was a film called Incendies. Both these films are about immigrants in Montreal. Both these films are depressing. However, beyond that, both these films are completely different.
In a Montreal elementary school, a student is heading to class ahead of his classmates, finds the door locked, peaks in to find his teacher’s corpse hanging from the ceiling.
Not a happy start.
I hope to never work with elementary teachers who would do that to their students. So far none of my colleagues have1.
In the aftermath of the mayhem, a man appears in the Principal’s office offering his services as a teacher. He claims to be a teacher for the previous 19 years while in Albania, but had just received his Canadian permanent residency.
Turns out that’s not the truth! Apparently he’s fighting for refugee status, after his wife and children were killed in a fire in their apartment building. Turns out his wife wrote a book that upset a lot of people.
I’ll stop giving away the film. It’s damn good. I only had one major problem with it. They kept on speaking French. Umm… hello… I don’t speak French. Je ne parle pas français.
Though I did enjoy watching the students endure the torture of conjugating verbs in English. Us Anglos in Ontario had to endure a similar torture as we conjugated French verbs.
- Fingers crossed! [↩]