Be and To Have (France; 104min.)
directed by: Nicolas Philibert
|Diane says: "Sentimental docu about the rural French teacher. I fell in love with the young student, JoJo." 3 cats|
|Georgette says: "I truly enjoyed this quiet little documentary.
I liked the way that we only learn about the home life of two students
after they are reprimanded for acting out at school. And of course
when we learn about their life
at home, it's easy to see how it is hard for these two to focus on their classroom behavior.
"I'm sure that part of my enjoyment of this movie goes beyond the movie itself. I couldn't help but recall Manesquier, the teacher from MAN ON THE TRAIN, and imagine him in a similar classroom setting." 3 cats
Laura says: "Philibert and his crew remain invisible throughout
most of the this film's running time letting a way of life that is surely
for itself. The film is cyclically chaptered just as a school year is
divided by seasonal change, although nature's pattern is two beats off
bringing a beginning and summer an end. In Auvergue, man's connection
to nature also means his livelihood and Philibert makes the associations
starting his film with what at first seems an odd shot of cows being
herded in gently swirling snowflakes. A transition to tortoises traversing
floor of the emptied classroom is the only shot in the film which appears
to have been staged.
Review courtesy of Reeling Reviews
|Michael says: "This documentary has been doing quite well
in its run at the Coolidge Corner Theatre. I watched the screener for it
last night, and I have to confess, I rather enjoyed the trailer for the
film a bit more than the film itself.
"Adopting a fly-on-the-wall approach, director Nicolas Philibert and his film crew spend a year in a French, one-room schoolhouse, the likes of which scarcely exist anymore. A dozen-or-so students aged 4 - 11 attend the school in rural France, where farming is the principle trade, and their teacher, Monsieur Lopez, is near retiring.
"Truly, the importance of education rings true as this film progresses, which is surely the filmmakers' intent. But despite other reviewers praise, I felt several of the scenes to be somewhat forced and stagey. Sure the kids were cute, but "star" Jo Jo kind of got on my nerves because of the attention given him. (I was much more entranced by Marie!) Perhaps it was also due to the onset of a cold that has struck me down today, but I also found it difficult to stay awake through (but I did.)
"Sadly, I must give TO BE AND TO HAVE 2 1/2 cats."
|Rick says: "Georgette described it just right as a 'quiet
little documentary.' Quiet and little in such a refreshing way. I
left this film feeling calmed, soothed, and moved. Such a sweet film and
a solid 4 cats.
"Having an aversion to small children, I had my doubts coming into this.
I was concerned that somehow those filthy infants would reach through
the screen and touch me with their sticky hands! Furthermore, I was put
off by the contrived openning sequence of turtles making their way freely
about the room. Like this was supposed to be 'cute' and the
rest of the film would be full of 'aww it's he/she/it cute' nonsense
made to appeal exclusively to middle aged suburban PTA-attending church-going
soccer moms, in the way that SPELLBOUND did
(applogies to all those that liked this film and to those who fit this
demographic. I just felt SPELLBOUND
was lacking in much needed irony). But that's neither here nor there
and TO BE AND TO HAVE broke through my cynical fascade, enabling me to
experience the genuine warmth projected by the teacher to his students.
How fortunate the kids are to have Monseiur Lopez in their lives. How
fortunate we are to be able to see and experience him as depicted in
this film! I like how we are given limited information about Lopez, and
I think that's how he would want it - for the film to not be about him,
but about the children and their problems, and vicariously we the individual
viewers and our problems, and the process of learning and moving through
the difficulties of life. I was reminded of the few but very important
effective teachers I've had and how their impact continues to follow
me. And to make this all the more sentimental, I'll close with these
quotes by Mr. Rogers 'We are not just the age we are now, but all
the ages we have ever been,' and 'The child is in me still,
and sometimes not so still.' 4 cats