Idealistic teacher Daniel Lefebvre (Philippe Torreton) fights personal and professional battles in this uncompromising drama from acclaimed French Director Bertrand Tavernier. Teaching at a school in an impoverished former mining community, Daniel is constantly faced with complex and emotional decisions as he seeks to inspire and educate the children in his power, against the odds. Despite the endless frustrations of bureaucratic social services, and dealing with abusive parents and troubled children, Daniel holds onto his integrity, in this hard hitting but essentially life affirming drama.
So near the edge
- It All Starts Today review by GPH
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You rated this film: 5
An idealistic teacher faces grim conditions. Children of kindergarten age are usually in frame, or if not, just have been and about to be again. And Tavernier takes the threads of his story at his usual lesuired pace. One could accordingly expect 113 minutes of consistent gloom and sentimentality. But this is Tavernier. His narratives are all, without exception, compelling and convincing, directed and filmed in almost documentary style. Situations emerge, reach a crisis and resolve with complete naturalness. One never feels that one's being told what to think and feel. (Watch it with others and you'll find that though all are involved none will read the film in the same way.) The mis-en-scene, the acting and above all, the unerring assurance of Tavernier's direction are quite masterly. (Watch it with others and no-one, for nearly two hours, will move a muscle.) By the end, you'll feel that you've really been there, having travelled through just about all the emotions there are. A totally satisfying film.