Good mourning, class | Movie Sidebar | Chicago Reader

Film » Movie Sidebar

Good mourning, class

An Algerian refugee takes charge of grieving grade schoolers in Monsieur Lazhar



In this French Canadian feature by Philippe Falardeau, a standard liberal tale about an inspirational teacher gradually deepens into a quiet study of how grief works its way through a community. The death of a young grade school instructor shocks her students and colleagues alike, though, as one child astutely observes, the institutional response speaks more to the adults' trauma than the children's. Into this cauldron walks the title character (Mohamed Fellag), a gentle Algerian refugee with his own history of terrible loss, and as he tries to take over the dead woman's class, his rocky relationship with the kids pushes both him and them to new levels of empathy, understanding, and forgiveness.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Related Film

Monsieur Lazhar

Official Site:

Director: Philippe Falardeau

Cast: Fellag, Sophie Nélisse, Émilien Néron, Danielle Proulx, Brigitte Poupart, Jules Philip, Daniel Gadouas, Louis Champagne and Seddik Benslimane