movie film review | chris tookey

Etre et Avoir/ To Be and to Have

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  Etre et Avoir/ To Be and to Have Review
Tookey's Rating
8 /10
Average Rating
8.71 /10
Georges Lopez ,

Directed by: Nicholas Philibert
Written by:

Released: 2002
Origin: France
Colour: C
Length: 0

A sweet but powerful documentary by Nicholas Philibert about a French schoolteacher in a small, single-class, primary school in the Auvergne.
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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With few facilities but an abundance of determination, Georges Lopez (pictured right) comes across as a fine teacher and a wise man. It's a moving experience to see young minds expanding under his instruction.

Is Georges too good to be true? Not really - there are many teachers like him, all over the world. We're just not used to seeing them, on any size of screen.

Anyone interested in education will find this a joy, and it's uplifting to find at least one fly-on-the-wall camera crew that doesn't feel it essential to be snide and patronising.

Far too many film-makers - and, indeed, people in my old stamping ground, TV, be they producers, directors, journalists or interviewers - suffer from a mixture of immaturity, metropolitan complacency and unwarranted intellectual arrogance.

They should watch this film, strongly reminiscent of some great TV documentaries by John Pitman and members of the old Tonight team, and a throwback to the ancient but still honourable feature-documentary tradition of John Grierson. All modern film-makers could learn from its not-so-simple humanity, integrity and, above all, humility.

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