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Back to school for a class act by Richard Mowe

Actress Sara Forestier and director Hélène Angel on the set of Elementary Photo: Unifrance The French, without wishing to sound chauvinistic, hold their education system in high regard. Cinema has reflected that interest in films from Jean Vigo’s Zero de Conduite in 1933, through the gentle documentary about life in a country infant school Etre et Avoir (2002) by Nicolas Phlibert to Laurent Cantet’s Cannes Palme d’Or winner The Class (2008), set in a raw inner city school. And let’s not forget Abdellatif Kechiche’s L’Esquive (2003), Louis Malle’s 1987 Au Revoir Les Enfants, Julie Bertuccelli’s School of Babel (2013), and Christophe Barratier’s 2004 The Chorus.

Joining the throng is director Hélène Angel with Elementary (Primaire) in which Sara Forestier plays a primary school teacher who has no time for a personal life and lives in an apartment in the grounds with her ten-year-old son.

Angel says: “Education is
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‘Elementary’ (‘Primaire’): Film Review | Colcoa 2017

‘Elementary’ (‘Primaire’): Film Review | Colcoa 2017
In a role somewhat better-grounded than those she’s played in films like Love Battles and The Names of Love, Sara Forestier portrays a straitlaced schoolteacher in Helene Angel’s Elementary (Primaire), a lively dramedy that realistically captures the unpredictable world of grade-school education. Although the film’s subject matter may not constitute the main draw for U.S. audiences, committed performances and a judicious shading of humor could help Angel’s feature make the grade on premium cable or streaming platforms following a January theatrical release in France.

For thirtyish teacher Florence (Forestier), working with primary school children has become more than a career,...
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