To be and to have

Many years ago the BBC used to show French films late in the evening on Saturday or Sunday nights. I used to watch these almost uniformly good movies and enjoy how different a film could be from what was shown the rest of the week. Last night I stayed up to watch Etre et Avoir, a documentary about a provincial school teacher. It mapped out his final year at the school and the way he, Mr Lopez, dealt with the various challenges the children presented and clearly documented his love of them and his job. The director, Nicolas Philibert, did a wonderful job of presenting events without getting in the way. We get so involved that the moment when Mr Lopez turns to the camera to answer questions almost comes as a shock. The look on his face when he says goodbye to his last class is heartbreaking. It's on DVD people, go and watch.


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