How do we learn to live with others and their wishes? Director Nicolas Philibert poses this question in a village schoolhouse in Auvergne, where Georges Lopez teaches 13 children, ages ranging from about four to 12. Against a landscape of mountains and farmland, from driving snow to rain to sun, the children gather in Lopez's warm and colorful classroom, to read, write dictation, cook, and sort things out. At home, the older ones do homework with parents after their chores. At year's end, they look ahead to the next, visiting the middle school and meeting the little ones coming in the fall. As they learn sums and adjectives, with Lopez's help, they also learn to live side by side. Written by
A hymn to teaching and Georges Lopez in particular.
Teaching is a gift, a talent and it can not be taught-sure, people can be taught at universities about the particulars of teaching but the guts of teaching is something that imbues an adult with the warmth of dealing with young people. Georges Lopez has that talent, that gift and this beautiful film allows adults to see what happens in something we all participate in but rarely have a chance to observe after we are adults.
I found the film to be mesmerizing with it's reflections on the beauty and innocence of childhood as well as the little insights into French rural life all held together with the "glue" provided by the teaching of Lopez with his powerful personality. The beauty of this personality and his extraordinary attitude towards the children in his care are the parts of this wonderfully warm documentary that linger with me after viewing the film.
A person feels so humbled after watching a master at work and we must question our society's values when a man of this talent can beaver away unknown in deep pockets in urban and rural settings under valued by our society while others with far less to contribute are valued to a degree beyond worth.
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