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I see you've drawn a bunch of small children with knives, stabbing their teacher...in the face. Well that's...hmm....


Georges Lopez and a bunch of kids

Julien’s Dad: I’m lost…
Julien’s Mom: I’m lost too…
Julien’s Uncle: There’s a mistake there.
Julien’s Mom: He hasn’t shifted it.
Julien’s Uncle: You forgot this thingummy.  It should go here…

A documentary about a remote school in France with 13 students, ranging from Kindergarten to 5th grade, and only one teacher for them all.

This is a documentary, but sometimes the way it is shot gives it more of a film like feel.  There aren’t a lot of one on one interviews or acknowledgment of the camera, so it feels a little more removed from the subjects than a normal documentary.  In some ways, that made it all seem a little distant and less engrossing.  We see some glimpses into the kids’ home lives (the quote above is from one such glimpse), but I would have liked to get to know them even more.

Don’t let that discourage you too much, though.  It’s still a fascinating look at the determination it takes for one man to successfully deal with all the kids he’s trying to teach.

With such a variance in the ages of the children, some must be left to work on their own while he teaches the other kids.  That can be okay for the older kids, but the younger ones are more easily distracted.  You can tell that Lopez, while calm and relatively soft spoken, has had to be a strict disciplinarian to these kids so that they’ll stay on task when not being taught directly.  They’re a little bit afraid of him, but at the same time, you can tell they like him and the older kids are going to miss him when they move on to middle school.

It may drag a bit here and there, but in general, this is a lovely little peek inside the work of a caring, dedicated teacher making one on one connections with his students.  Oh, and the kids are pretty amusing too.  Watching poor little Jojo trying to logically talk his way out of doing work might have been my favorite part of the movie.

Kids can be pretty good liars from an early age.

10 – 1.2 because I wanted to know the kids even more – .5 for a few bits that dragged – .6 for a few bits seeming too staged or set up to make it more like a regular movie = 7.7