A French public servant from Provence is banished to the far North. Strongly prejudiced against this cold and inhospitable place, he leaves his family behind to relocate temporarily there, with the firm intent to quickly come back.
A man is charged with murder. He is Pigoil, the aging stage manager at Chansonia, a music hall in a Paris faubourg. His confession is a long flashback to New Year's Eve, 1935, when he ... See full summary »
In 1942, in an occupied Paris, the apolitical grocer Edmond Batignole lives with his wife and daughter in a small apartment in the building of his grocery. When his future son-in-law and ... See full summary »
Each week, Pierre and his friends organize what is called as "un dîner de cons". Everyone brings the dumbest guy he could find as a guest. Pierre thinks his champ -François Pignon- will ... See full summary »
Harris Tindall is a pencil sharpener. He is the last descendant of a family fully dedicated to this artistic tradition. Each day, the sharpener adjusts his pencil leads depending on his ... See full summary »
Fond de l'Etang is a boarding school for troubled boys located in the French countryside. In the mid-twentieth century, it is run by the principal M. Rachin, an egotistical disciplinarian whose official unofficial mantra for the school is "action - reaction", meaning that there will be severe consequences for any boy out of line. This approach does not seem to be working as the boys as a collective are an unruly bunch. In turn, the teachers don't teach, but are always watching out for the next subversive act from the boys. January 15, 1949 marks the arrival to the school of the new supervisor, M. Clément Mathieu, a middle-aged man who is grasping at finding his place in life after a series of failed endeavors. Although he does find the boys an unruly lot, Mathieu does not believe in the "action - reaction" policy, and as such, butts heads with Rachin while secretly undermining the policy. Slowly, Mathieu's approach of trying to match the discipline to the crime does have a positive ... Written by
Actor, co-producer Gérard Jugnot mortgaged his Paris apartment to help finance the film. The bet paid off, and he ended up making over 5 million euros for 'Les Choristes' as actor and co-producer. He earned the title of the highest-paid French actor in 2004, overtaking Jean Reno and Gérard Depardieu. See more »
While Mathieu is auditioning more than thirty boys in his class to sort them by the pitches of their voices, discontinuities can be perceived in the relative positions of some of the boys. While Pépinot is walking to the left side of the frame after his audition, Boniface and one of the oldest boys can be seen standing together on the lowest step of the stairs in the center of the frame (at 33:43 to 33:45). The scene then cuts to a close-up of Mathieu calling out Boniface's name to sing next (at 33:46 to 33:48). Then the scene cuts to a medium shot of Boniface stepping off the stairs, but the older boy is not beside him (at around 48 mins). In a wider shot (at around 56 mins), the older boy is at the far right of the frame with the baritones and bases having had his audition "off-camera". See more »
Taking France by storm this summer, Les choristes purportedly led to a surge in applications to join choirs all over the country. The magic is unquestionably in the music, but I'll come to that later.
The success of Les choristes as a film (with or without the divine music) lies in its not trying to be anything more than what it is, a simple tale that opens up to you instead of manipulating you. You'll find neither heart-breaking poignancy nor rousing heroism. Within the short duration of a school term or two he spent with the somewhat notorious boarding school, teacher and musician Clement Mathieu had his modest ambition fulfilled, of having a choir sing the music he wrote, then moved along to a continuously modest life of teaching and music. Talented protégé Pierre Morhange did achieve fame and success, but we have essentially been spared laboured scenes of Titanic struggles or exuberant jubilation. To ensure that I'm not misleading towards the other extreme, let me hasten to add that Les choristes does touch our hearts. It does this gently, sensibly.
But in the end, it's the music. Purely the celestial beauty of the music alone will brings tears to the appreciative audiences' eyes. The story is touching. The character are likable. But the ultimate magic is the choir and boy soprano Jean-Baptiste Maunier chosen from two thousand auditions. Such a magical choice.
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