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Time Out saysThis wonderful film by acclaimed French documentarist Philibert charts half a year in the life of Georges Lopez and the infant and junior pupils he teaches at a tiny single-class school in the Auvergne. That may not sound so rewarding, but in following the fortunes of this small group as they face their trials and tribulations, Philibert attains an extraordinary intimacy with his subjects, creating a multi-layered movie that sheds light on numerous aspects of human experience. In Jojo and the smallest kids, we see minds develop at breathtaking speed; with older pupils Julien and Olivier, a grasp of ethics is starting to come into play, while shy Natalie is a reminder of how painful the onset of a teenage sensibility can be. Then there are the families, having children help out on the farm even as they ask them to solve maths equations they themselves barely understand. Georges Lopez is a reminder that the personal touch is essential but too often lacking in education. He's rather like a pastor, shrink, guru and uncle all rolled into one. A witty, hugely moving study of dedication, intelligence and downright goodness leaving the desired mark, this gem covers all this and more. It's one of the very finest films you're likely to see in a long time. Just beautiful.
Cast and crew
Franck, Kevin, Jérôme, Magali, Léa, Océane, Thomas, Valentin, and the families Chanimbaud, Dujardin, Garrido, Jeune, Lacombe, Olléon, Ponte, Rochès, Olivier, Nathalie, Georges Lopez, the children Alizé, Axel, Guillaume, Jessie, Johan Jojo, Johann, Julien, Laura, Létitia, Marie-Elizabeth, Thouvenin of Puy-de-Dôme