Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Chorus

Christophe Barratier, France, 2004 (8.8*)
One of the few really good films about teachers, a worthy successor to 1939's classic school drama Goodbye, Mr. Chips. Clément Mathieu, a new teacher, played by Gérard Jugnot, volunteers for a remote music teaching post. He thinks it's maybe a small private school, but it turns out to be a near prison for juvenile delinquents, and he's basically a warden as well as a teacher.

This story is about how he gains the affection of his students, as well as shaping their dormant musical talents. This simple story never overreaches nor preaches, but remains perfectly within itself. This heartwarming film was nominated for two Oscars, foreign language film and music, and won 11 international awards (Awards Page at IMDB), 3 for music, 7 for director Barratier. On a short list with Mr. Chips and The Paper Chase (James Bridges, 1973) as great films about influential teachers.


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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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