A nominee for last year's Best Foreign Language Film, Monsieur Lazhar comes to us all the way from ... Montreal! Well, they do speak French there. Of course, the category should really honor any international film made outside the big Hollywood system, but that's a story for another time. Lazhar (Mohamed Saïd Fellag) is wrestling with a couple serious issues when he becomes an emergency substitute teacher in Quebec. First, he's an immigrant. Second, his wife and children perished in an arson attack; she was a writer whose politically motivated work set off the wrong people back home in Algeria. He encounters a third problem in class: He's replacing a teacher who killed herself. Despite the heavy nature of all of these events, Monsieur Lazhar is hopeful and humane. It's not a film about grieving, but carrying on. And a good one at that.
Director: Philippe Falardeau
Cast: Fellag, Sophie Nélisse, Émilien Néron, Danielle Proulx, Brigitte Poupart, Jules Philip, Daniel Gadouas, Louis Champagne and Seddik Benslimane