The Canary Yellow Bicycle | Chicago Reader

The Canary Yellow Bicycle

A grade-school teacher in Athens struggles to help a slow learner who administrators have decided is hopelessly retarded. Though based on a true story, this 1999 Greek feature will seem plenty familiar to anyone who's seen The Miracle Worker. Yet writer-director Dimitris Stavrakas deepens the story by showing us the main characters' complicated lives outside school: the teacher's frustration spills over into his behavior toward his parents and girlfriend, while his pupil must contend with taunting classmates and a mother and father who don't seem to care. With a sure sense of pace Stavrakas builds up a marvelous rapport between the serious, paternalistic teacher (Dimitris Alexandris) and his dejected but spunky pupil (Giorgos Halaris), and the film's ending is more ambiguous than most Hollywood producers would allow. 90 min.

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