Monsieur Lazhar

Director: Philippe Falardeau
Screenwriters: Philippe Falardeau

Institute History

  • 2012 Sundance Film Festival


We are thrilled to show the work of Québécois filmmaker Philippe Falardeau for the first time at the Sundance Film Festival. Exemplifying precise filmmaking and deeply affecting storytelling, Monsieur Lazhar is Falardeau’s fourth feature film and Canada's 2011 Oscar submission.

During a harsh Montréal winter, an elementary-school class is left reeling after its teacher commits suicide. Bachir Lazhar, a charismatic Algerian immigrant, steps in as the substitute teacher for the classroom of traumatized children. All the while, he must keep his personal life tucked away: the fact that he is seeking political refuge in Québec—and that he, like the children, has suffered an appalling loss.

Mohamed Fellag as Lazhar delivers a performance full of charm, compassion, and humanity, allowing the story of a beloved teacher to breathe with wit and originality. With Falardeau’s gentle humor and elegant touch, Monsieur Lazhar tells a gorgeous story about a man who transcends his own grief and tragedy to help his young students process death and loss in their lives.

— Kim Yutani

Screening Details

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