Monsieur Lazhar is Toronto critics’ top pick

You don’t need to be a Hollywood hotshot or have the biggest stars in your film for it to be recognized as quality cinema. Canadian director Philippe Falardeau’s French drama, Monsieur Lazhar, was honored with the title of best Canadian film by the Toronto Film Critics’ Association, beating out David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method and Jean-Marc Vallé’s Café de Flore. Philippe accepted his award, along with a generous $15,000 prize, at a fancy gala dinner held last night. “I’ve had a good run with this film since the beginning. It’s been amazing, it’s been mind-boggling,” the stunned director told the audience. “And I think most directors would be lying if they said they (weren’t) longing for good critiques. I can appreciate how hard work it is…when it’s well done.” Based on the stage play of the same name, Monsieur Lazhar is the story of a middle-aged Algerian immigrant who takes over an elementary class in Montreal after their former teacher unexpectedly commits suicide in the school. The film is Canada’s submission to this year’s Oscars for best foreign film.

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