Monsieur Lazhar (Philippe Falardeau) was wonderful and just got an Oscar nod for best foreign language film! I thought that the storyline was well put together, following both the trauma and growth of a Montreal school community after the suicide of a teacher and the Algerian substitute (Mohamed Fellag)’s fight to gain asylum. The latter was neatly integrated and was a good way to flesh out the title character’s history. I was impressed by how thoughtful this film was, delving into how to talk about trauma, the fleeting innocence and developing maturity of children, how to be a teacher, what respect and responsibility mean, and more. It was quite lovely. And I did cry at the end.
Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap (Ice-T, Andy Baybutt) was an homage to the founders and leaders of rap. It was interesting to learn about the process of composing and what rap means to the numerous MCs interviewed. Overall, though, it was just mediocre (and long.) There was nothing, or very little, about the current state and future of rap. After seeing Filly Brown, I am intrigued by how rap has been adopted and adapted in other cultures, both in America and abroad. This could be an interesting sequel of sorts.