Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. France, 2012. Mandarin Films, Mars Films, France 2 Cinema, FOZ, Canal+, Cine@, France Televisions, La Banque Postale Images 5, Cofimage 23, Palatine Étoile 9, Region Ile-de-France. Screenplay by Francois Ozon, based on the play El Chico De La Ultima Fila by Juan Mayorga. Cinematography by Jerome Almeras. Produced by Eric Altmayer, Nicolas Altmayer, Claudie Ossard. Music by Philippe Rombi. Production Design by Arnaud de Moleron. Costume Design by Pascaline Chavanne. Film Editing by Laure Gardette. Toronto International Film Festival 2012.
High school teacher Fabrice Luchini teaches at an institution that has recently initiated a uniform policy in an effort to avoid the pitfalls that come with children of various backgrounds being lumped together in one school. Ironically, class consciousness is the centre of a budding obsession that occurs within him and his art gallery-manager wife (Kristin Scott Thomas) when a student’s essay about spending time with his “bourgeois” best friend catches their interest and they begin to demand follow-ups. In the weeks following the initial assignment, the young man writes pages and pages of observations and opinions about his time spent with his friend, goaded on by his teacher who ends up making some questionable interference in order to keep the project going. What results is a fascinating social experiment that is also a success as entertainment: the film is as funny as it is thought-provoking, the first terrific film by director Francois Ozon in many years and featuring outstanding performances from both the established cast (Scott Thomas is hilarious) as well as the new young actors. Emmanuelle Seigner adds a lot of charm to her scenes as the mother of the family at the centre of this voyeur’s scope.