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A Film Diary

+ high-res version

Watched: 25 November

At times this fictional drama set in a French primary school reminded me of Nicolas Philibert’s lovely rural documentary Être Et Avoir, given that director Hélène Angel and cinematographer Yves Angelo are just as fond of close-ups of children during the classes that are depicted as Philibert was, and here you could say that the camera is capturing various experessions in a faux-documentary style. Elementary is set in a city or town centre-based school, though, and there’s less of a sense of everyone being distant or cut off from wider French society. The story concerns one teacher’s relationships (with a couple of parents and guardians, with her own son, who she teaches, and with a troubled boy named Sasha), and while enjoyable enough it lays it on thick whenever the point is being made that the adults within the film need to learn and grow in similar ways to the children; that said, the lunchtime scenes in which tables of teachers act in an immature fashion that’s not dissimilar to a bunch of seven-year-olds are a hoot. (***)

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