Summary

A teacher and his students learn from one another in the wake of a tragedy in this drama from director Philippe Falardeau. Simon (Emilien Neron) and Alice (Sophie Nelisse) are a pair of grade-school students who make a shocking discovery one day when they witness their teacher taking her own life in their classroom. The school's principal (Danielle Proulx) wants things back to normal as soon as possible, and when substitute teacher Bachir Lazhar (Mohamed Fellag) drops off his resume after learning of the tragedy, he's hired almost on the spot. The children don't immediately take to Lazhar, since most of them have never had a male teacher before, and Lazhar has his own adjustments to deal with -- he's an Algerian immigrant new to Montreal, he's still learning the finer points of Quebecois French, and his teaching style differs from that of his new colleagues. But as Lazhar tries to guide Simon, Alice, and their classmates through the shock of what has happened, he also finds the experience helps him heal after struggling with a loss of his own. Monsieur Lazhar (aka Bachir Lazhar) won the Audience Award at the 2011 Locarno Film Festival and was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2012 Academy Awards. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi