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Caryn James

The Secrets of Monsieur Lazhar

  • By Caryn James
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  • April 13, 2012 9:02 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Monsieur Lazhar may have lost the Best Foreign Language Oscar to A Separation – I can’t argue with that; A Separation is extraordinary – but if any film could have given it a real challenge, it might have been this unexpectedly powerful, subtle little film from Canada: exquisitely made, enormously moving and politically-charged. Don’t be put off by its hokey-sounding subject: a substitute teacher takes over a class. This gem from director Philippe Falardeau is far from the inspirational snooze that description suggests.

How Did This Happen? Five Terrific Foreign Film Nominees

  • By Caryn James
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  • February 24, 2012 10:07 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Whatever you say about the Academy Awards’ most baffling choices, from the wacky grab bag of Best Picture nominees (really, who thinks Extremely Loud deserves to be there?) to the mysterioso ways of the documentary and foreign film committees, this year the foreign language nominees are, amazingly, all absolutely worth seeing. Of course, four of them have the bad luck to be against the Iranian film A Separation, one of the year’s best, most surprising films in any language. And I still can’t believe that Aki Kaurismaki’s beautifully observed, witty and moving Le Havre, with its eloquent nod to French noirs, didn’t make this list (and in this year of homage to old movies!)  Still, the list is pretty wonderful.

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