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To Be and to Have (Être et avoir) (2002)

  Links: To Be and to Have on the IMDb, Official site
Genre: Documentary

This movie gets: 8.00 (1 rating) Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

To Be and to Have (Être et avoir) (2002) is also mentioned in pearly's review of Spellbound (2002).

"Laid-back and feel-good" - a review by pearly

In a way, To Be and to Have is like watching a really long episode of Kids say the Darndest Things. But, in another way, it's a whole lot more than that. In a small French village, Mr Lopez is the teacher in a primary school where there is only one class of kids, ranging from about five to ten years old.

Mr Lopez teaches all the kids in all their subjects, and he is an amazingly patient and switched-on guy. The documentary goes for a one year period, so you get to know the kids that attend the school during that particular year. It is a very relaxed doco; the shots of the kids and the classroom are interspersed with shots of the surrounds - the ice on the trees, the classroom's turtles roaming along the floor. It is a surprisingly different documentary, and refreshingly meandering in its approach. The shots of the town are very beautiful, and will leave you thinking "I want to go to France".

There are some gorgeous kids in the bunch, one of these being Jojo, who, in a particularly funny scene, struggles to learn that he should call his teacher "monsieur". Two of the other kids are fighting, one of them can't master the fact that the number seven follows the number six, one of the boys is upset because his father has been in hospital, and one of the girls is incredibly shy and is having trouble communicating. But Mr Lopez takes it all in his stride, and really comes off as some kind of super-teacher.

To Be and to Have is back-to-basics film-making. And what it shows is that bells and whistles aren't always good things. A wonderful little film that will leave you with a warm spot in your heart.

pearly gives this movie 8 out of 10.
Review created on Thu 8 Aug 2002

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