Canada's Monsieur Lazhar nominated for Best Foreign Language Film



Canada's Monsieur Lazhar is one of five Oscar nominated movies for Best Foreign Language Film. Written and directed by Quebec's Philippe Falardeau, it's the story of an Algerian immigrant hired to replace an elementary school teacher who died tragically. Here's a full description from the film's website, in both French and English (auto translation from website):

À Montréal, une enseignante du primaire meurt subitement. Apprenant la nouvelle dans le journal, Bachir Lazhar (Fellag), un Algérien de 55 ans, frappe à la porte de l’école pour offrir ses services à titre de remplaçant. Rapidement embauché pour combler le vide laissé par la disparue, l’immigrant fait son entrée sur le marché du travail québécois dans un établissement en situation de crise alors qu’il nage lui-même en pleine tragédie personnelle.Dès son arrivée, le fossé culturel entre Bachir et sa classe se dessine, alors qu’il propose aux enfants une dictée hors de leur portée, tirée d’Honoré de Balzac. Peu à peu, Bachir apprend à mieux connaître un groupe d'écoliers aussi ébranlés qu’attachants. Parmi ceux-ci, Alice et Simon, deux élèves charismatiques témoins d'un incident tabou, se révèlent particulièrement atteints par le décès de leur professeur. Pendant que la classe amorce un processus de guérison, personne à l'école ne soupçonne le passé douloureux de Bachir qui risque l'expulsion du pays à tout moment. Adapté d’une pièce de théâtre d’Evelyne de la Chenelière, Monsieur Lazhar met en images la rencontre de deux mondes et la puissance de la parole. Après Congorama et C’est pas moi, je le jure!, Philippe Falardeau renoue avec le cinéma social qui avait marqué ses débuts (La Moitié gauche du frigo). À travers le parcours émotif des enfants et des adultes, le cinéaste suit avec humour et sensibilité un homme humble prêt à transcender sa propre perte pour aider les écoliers à vaincre le silence qui les emmure. 
In Montreal, a primary school teacher died suddenly. Hearing the news in the newspaper, Bashir Lazhar (Fellag), an Algerian 55, knocked on the door of the school to offer his services as a replacment. Quickly hired to fill the void left by the missing, the immigrant entered the Quebec labor market in an institution in crisis while swimming itself in full personal tragedy. Upon arrival, the cultural gap between Bashir and his class is emerging, as he offers children a dictation out of their reach, taken from Honore de Balzac. Gradually, Bashir learns more about a group fo schoolchildren also shaken endearing. Among them, Alice and Simon, two charismatic student witnesses an incident taboo, are particular affected by the death of their teacher. As the class begins a healing process,  no one at school do not suspect the painful past of Bashir is likely expulsion from the country at any time. Adapted from a paly by evelyne de la Cheneliere, Mr. Lazhar puts in pictures the meeting of two worlds and the power of speech. After Congoram and It's Not Me, I Swear!, Philippe Falardeau social returns to the cinema that marked the beginning. Through the emotional journey of children and adults, the filmmaker follows with humor and sensitive of a humble man willing to transcend his own loss to help students to overcome the silence that Emmure. 
The five nominated films include:
  • Bullhead - Belgium
  • Footnote - Israel
  • In Darkness - Poland
  • Monsieur Lazhar - Canada
  • A Separation - Iran
Another Canadian, Christopher Plummer, was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for Beginners. He picked up the award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture at the Golden Globes on Jan. 15, 2012. Other Canadian films-people nominated may be found on Strombo's CBC blog (George Stroumboulopoulos). Last year, Canada's Incendes was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film. The 84th Academy Awards will be presented on Sunday, February 26, 2012 at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles.

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