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The Chorus [DVD] [2004]

4.7 out of 5 stars 192 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Gérard Jugnot, François Berléand, Kad Merad, Jean-Paul Bonnaire, Marie Bunel
  • Directors: Christophe Barratier
  • Format: PAL, Colour, Widescreen, Subtitled
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Pathe Distribution
  • DVD Release Date: 11 July 2005
  • Run Time: 92 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (192 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0009HBN78
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,167 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

French drama inspired by the 1947 film 'La Cage aux Rossignols'. Successful orchestra conductor Pierre Morhange (Jacques Perrin) returns home when his mother dies. He recollects his childhood inspirations through the pages of a diary kept by his old music teacher Clément Mathieu (Gérard Jugnot). Back in the late '40s, little Pierre (Jean-Baptiste Maunier) is the badly behaved son of single mother Violette (Marie Bunel). He attends a dreary boarding school presided over by strict headmaster Rachin (François Berléand). New teacher Mathieu brightens up the place and organises a choir, leading to the discovery of Pierre's musical talents.

From Amazon.co.uk

By getting nominated for Academy Awards in both the Foreign Language Film and Best Song categories, Les Choristes (The Chorus) made a rare (for a European film) double impression at the 2004 Oscars. This sentimental tale follows the arrival of a new teacher at a remote boys school in 1949 France (the war is a largely unspoken but ghostly presence). With disciplinary problems rampant, and the policies of the old-fashioned headmaster not helping, Monsieur Mathieu decides to introduce choral singing as a way to bridge the gap with his students. You don't need a crystal ball to figure out where this will go, although the movie uses its atmospheric location and lush vocal arrangements well. Bald, dumpy Gerard Jugnot provides a refreshingly offbeat hero: he's sort of a younger Philippe Noiret. Director Christophe Barratier works in the winsome-cute mode that makes a certain kind of French movie into an overly sweet bon bon, although at least this bon bon sings. --Robert Horton, Amazon.com

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
This is a wonderful film. Its moving, slightly sad, and heart-warming. I watched it first at school with my GCSE standards French, in French, with French subtitles. Although I didn't understand all the details, I still enjoyed it immensely, and however you watch it, it is amazing. I had the song "Les Choristes" in my head for days.

The film begins in the future, and then is mostly a flashback. A new teacher arrives at Fond D'Etang, a school for difficult boys, to teach music, and immediately discovers the harsh discipline and the bad behaviour which forced the man he is replacing to retire. His unusual methods soon warm the boys to him, and he achieves a lot. There is some wonderful music, especially the soloist, Pierre. Pepinot, a very young boy, is adorable, and he partly gives the film its touching ending.

Whatever standard your French is, even if you watch it in English; whether you like this sort of music or not, you cannot fail to love this film. It's hard for me to put my finger on what exactly makes it appeal so much to me, but the characters are probably its best feature. They are well developed, lovable (or hatable, in the headmaster's case) and they make the film stick in your mind. Make sure you give this a try!
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Format: DVD
Beautiful film. The cinematography, script and characterizations are just perfect, and the plot moves along nicely. A good, harmless film.

Don't be put off by the subtitles, the characters and plot make you forget you have to read them, even if French is not your first language.

I loved every moment of this, and watched it twice two days running. Gorgeous.
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By Trevor Willsmer HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 19 Mar. 2006
Format: DVD
It's easy enough to dismiss this French tale of a failed schoolteacher reforming both the pupils and staff of a boarding school for difficult boys by starting a choir as Monsieur Holland's Opus, Au Revoir Monsieur Pommes Frittes or even Societe des Poets Mort (although it is a remake of a 1945 film La Cage aux Rossingols that predates most of them), but it's done so well that it's impossible not to be won over by it. Sentimental? Sure, but its honest sentiment that doesn't overdose on artificial sweeteners. Gerard Jugnot beautifully underplays the lead, although all the cast are impressive, but the real star of the film is Bruno Coulais and Christophe Barratier's music, avoiding the dirges for some genuinely beautiful and affecting pieces that give the film wings. It's probably the kind of film its easy for some to dislike sight unseen as typical 'export cinema' (not only does it share its framing-device structure with Cinema Paradiso, but actor-producer Jacques Perrin even plays the role of the conductor returning to his hometown for a funeral!), but it's all done so very well that it's nigh-on impossible not to be won over.

The DVD offers a good 2.35:1 widescreen transfer, trailer and a good 72-minute documentary. Highly recommended.
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Format: DVD
When it comes to sentimentality, the French can always be counted upon to bring a touch of class to what might otherwise be saccharine. "Les Choristes" could easily have become yet another, banal paean to the good man endeavouring to bring humanity to a school run by a tyrant (a tale which Dickens cornered for a very sentimental Victorian market): that it rises above the mundane is due to excellent direction, a superb cast, and a script which foregoes the obligatory happy ending.
The film opens with a scene which recalls 'Cinema Paradiso', with the successful maestro being called back to relive his childhood and rediscover the man who had transformed his life by giving him self-confidence, self-respect, and an abiding passion. We step back, down the years, to post-War France, there to meet the unassuming little schoolteacher who is about to start a new job in a boarding school for orphans and strays.
Clément (Gérard Jugnot) sets about transforming an abusive, exploitative regime by forming a bunch of the boys into a choir. In doing so, he gives them discipline and self-discipline, a sense of self worth, and the potential for clandestine rebellion against the school's headmaster. While the process also involves Clément in a rediscovery of his own passion for music and commitment to teaching as a transformative, not a controlling profession, it also leads to him falling in love with the mother of one of the boys.
There are echoes of post-War France - the struggle to rediscover democracy and throw off the bureaucratic shackles and centralist politics which would dog the Republic in the post-Vichy years.
Read more ›
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A rich and enjoyable film about the power of music and how it can inspire comfort and bring hope. It's one of those French films that make me wonder why we in the UK can't manage to produce something similar. Instead we look to mimic the US market all the time or make endless films about sludgy violent miserable lives in inner city areas.

This film is about a boys reform school where conditions and treatment of the boys are harsh but it was uplifting nevertheless. I felt there were one or two loose story ends that might have been pursued a little further. Basically I would have liked another 20 minutes of it. But loved the ending. Well worth watching and well worth buying to have on your shelf.
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