French subscription cinema
9. Les choristes
Reasons to study this film
Christophe Barratier the director of the film adapted this hit film from an earlier film about the redeeming effect of music and used the rapport de force between the failed teacher Clément Mathieu and the failed head teacher Rachin to create dramatic tension. The themes of the film are rather too obvious to lend themselves to satisfying discussion so personally I would hesitate to teach this film but many people enjoy it and wish to study it.
The interest of the film
Clément Mathieu arrives at Fond de l'Etang boarding school for disturbed children to be met by Pépinot who is waiting for his (deceased) parents to turn up to take him away. Scorned as nothing but a worthless "pion" Mathieu quickly realizes the potential of his charges and sets up a choir to the bemusement of the rest of the staff who adhere to the head's disciplinary policy of "Action-Réaction". Mathieu discovers that there is a real star amongst his charges and one he finds it difficult, near impossible to win over but as this film is more of a fairy story, it happens and Pierre Morhange goes on to enjoy a stratospheric career. Discussion will probably revolved around the contrasting characters of Rachin and Mathieu as well as differing approaches to education.