Award-winning documentary charting the events within a small single-class village primary school in the Auvergne region of France over the course of one academic year. A dozen children aged 4-10 are brought together each day in a rural classroom and taught all their subjects by a single teacher, Monsieur Georges Lopez. A master of quiet authority, he patiently navigates the children towards adolesence, cooling down their arguments and listening to their problems, while trying to balance the varying needs of the disparate age groups for whom he must provide.
Slow yourself down, sit comfortably and quietly...and enjoy pure cinematic delight. No gimmicks or plot, no shocks or surprises. Just documentary film-making at its best. It looks deceptively simple, and will touch you in the simplest and purest way. For a while you are truly in the heart of someone else's life - someone who cares about the small, deeply important things. Once you have seen this film, you will always smile at the sight of Jo-Jo on the cover. The memory will enrich your life for a moment, which is as good as it gets in my opinion.
This is a magical French documentary about a primary-school teacher and his pupils. The setting is rural France. We see the evolving personalities of the children gently juxtaposed with the changing of the seasons. The film is about growth and learning in its many manifestations. Nature sets the pattern for all the changes taking place. We see in the teacher, Georges, the personification of patience and loving attentiveness. This documentary shows what real love and engagement is all about. A truly excellent film and certainly worth watching again and again.
Version I saw: LoveFilm Bluray, subtitled Actors: N/A Plot/script: 5/10 Photography/visual style: 6/10 Music/score: 7/10 Overall: 6/10
Whatever caught my attention and caused me to add Etre et Avoir to my watch list, I had pretty much forgotten it by the time I came to watch this film, so I had very little expectation beyond an impression of quaint Frenchness. And indeed I got that; the documentary is filmed almost entirely within the classroom of a tiny rural French school. We get to know the kids and teacher by watching them learn, often frustratingly slowly, although that only makes it more satisfying when the light of comprehension dawns in their little eyes. If there is one thing missing from the film, it is context. I had to read the DVD sleeve notes to find out that the mode of education we see here is considered old-fashioned and under threat. It was only once I knew this that I was able to understand that the message of the film is pro-tradition in the face of cold modernity. I had access to that information, it is true, but truly outstanding documentaries are able to insert the necessary context unobtrusively. There is a universality here, in that similar situations can be found in any country large enough to have variations in population density. Incidentally, the title is pretty clever, evoking French grammar lessons as well as the huge concepts of being and having. I don't think I really *learned* anything from the film though, as I would normally expect to from a documentary. I think viewers will get out of Etre et Avoir what they bring in. If the idea of a feature length documentary set entirely in a French classroom sounds charming and heart-warming, you will be charmed and your heart warmed. If it sounds boring, you will be bored. For my full review, see my independent film review weblog on Blogspot, Cinema Inferno.
This is a film about a French primary teacher and his small class of pupils. That's all it is. Georges Lopez is the teacher - not an actor, this is a documentary - and he has a class of 12 aged 4 to 10. He comes across as greatly skilled and very dedicated. He is in his last year of teaching, and the accumulated wisdom of his experience is needed to guide the children, who all have difficulties of one sort or another to face, safely through the school year. It is visually beautiful, very funny in places, extremely poignant in others, deftly and subtly directed, and seems extraordinarily natural from beginning to end - there is great film-making skill here. I am very aware that words just don't do it justice. It is enchanting, and if you haven't seen it, you should!
A lovely film. I lent my DVD of Être et Avoir to a friend and so I bought another for my collection. Great value as it was only 74p! £2 in total. The photography is excellent and the children who are the stars in this documentary are most endearing.Their teacher is in his last year before he retires and he is respected by the children and parents. No issues about health and safety as we watch the children play in the snow during break time or when one of the tiny tots stands on a chair to put up a poster. Most refreshing!
This is a film that covers the lives of the young students and a teacher in a small village school in the middle of rural France in over a year. It's so heartwarming and very funny to watch the efforts of the teacher as he teaches the students on every subject. One can't help but feel affection for the young students as they attempt to learn everything from him, including having to pronounce proper French instead of their local dialect their parents use. It's a film that should be watched by teachers if they need to reach out to their students or simply enjoyed.