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The Chorus


Year: 2004 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 12A Cert – Under 12s admitted only with an adult 
Subtitles: It is expected that this film is fully subtitled. 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from The Chorus

The character of an inspirational teacher has become a cinematic favourite over the years, treating viewers to the likes of Mr Holland’s Opus and Dead Poets Society, and more recently, Mona Lisa Smile and Coach Carter. Les Choristes (The Chorus) continues this theme with a wonderful, sentimental drama which became a huge hit in its native France.

Told in nostalgic flashback, the film follows Pierre (Jacques Perrin), a famous French conductor, looking back to when his life was transformed by a new teacher, Clement Mathieu (Jugnot) at his state reform school, just after the war. 

Mathieu finds the correction institution full of misfits, orphans and difficult boys, and decides to turn everything around by forming a choir. Despite an initial bout of naughtiness, Mathieu’s belief in the boys’ potential pays off, and the boys soon submit obediently to the rigid demands of choir practice. Over time they gain a sense of hope and camaraderie, becoming a very special group. Whilst perhaps far-fetched and predictable, the drama resides not in their musical transformation nor improved discipline but Mathieu’s conflict with headmaster Rachin (Berléand), a strict disciplinarian who disapproves of this musical “nonsense”.

Les Choristes is a likeable and warm-hearted debut from Writer-director-composer Christophe Barratier, who is aided admirably by some great performances from his young cast, in particular cherubic orphan Pépinot (Maxence Perrin) and talented singer Pierre Morhange (Maunier), and the wonderful oral work of the professional Les Petits Chanteurs de Saint-Marc choir. 

“No one ever forgets a good teacher” went a national campaign promoting a career in teaching, and as Les Choristes proves, there’s nothing quite like a film about a good teacher...

Alex Coe

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Screenings of this film:

2004/2005 Summer Term (35mm)