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Movie Review: To Be and To Have

Story:Two turtles walking ever so slowly across a classroom floor should have been a hint to me about the pace of this charming French documentary by Nicolas Philibert. It depicts the last year in a teacher's twenty year career. One of the things that makes this film so interesting is that he represents the teacher most of us never had and the hope that our children are yet to meet. He is patient, caring and interested in the children. He treats them as individuals with thoughts, feelings and concerns. Also fresh is the fact that the twelve children (ages 4 through 11) are all schooled in a one room school house in rural France.

As a product of the NYC Public School system (PS 222) the education process depicted in this film might as well have taken place on another planet -- that is how different it is from what I experienced. It is about how one teacher can influence the ever so moldable mind of a child. When the process goes well everyone is nourished. Sigh!

Acting: The children are real and adorable.

Predilection: None. (Okay, okay - I like foreign films).

Critters: It takes place in rural France. Other than the aforementioned turtles the classroom also has fish. We also see cows, goats dogs and horses.

Food: Some hearty home crooked farm stuff.

Visual Art: Children's art.

Blatant Product Placement: None.

Soundtrack: Can't recall.

Opening Titles: Black and white titles superimposed over a school bus enroute to the school.

Theater Audience: An NYU film class, a few Francophiles and us.

Sappy Factor: 2

Predictability Level: High

Tissue Usage: Some welling tears as the children say adieu to their beloved teacher.

Oscar Worthy: No.

Nit Picking: The pace was too slow for me.

Big Screen or Rental: Rental would be fine.

Length: Under 2 hours.

LOBO HOWLS: 7