The Chorus (Les Choristes)
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Product Description

Set in 1948 a professor of music clement mathieu becomes the supervisor at a boarding school for the rehabilitation for minors. What he discovers disconcerts him - the currect situation is repressive. Through the power of song clement tries to transform the students. Studio: Buena Vista Home Video Release Date: 12/26/2008 Starring: Gerard Jugnot Kad Merad Run time: 97 minutes Rating: Pg13

By getting nominated for Academy Awards in both the Foreign Language Film and Best Song categories, Les Choristes (The Chorus) made a rare (for a European film) double impression at the 2004 Oscars. This sentimental tale follows the arrival of a new teacher at a remote boys school in 1949 France (the war is a largely unspoken but ghostly presence). With disciplinary problems rampant, and the policies of the old-fashioned headmaster not helping, Monsieur Mathieu decides to introduce choral singing as a way to bridge the gap with his students. You don't need a crystal ball to figure out where this will go, although the movie uses its atmospheric location and lush vocal arrangements well. Bald, dumpy Gerard Jugnot provides a refreshingly offbeat hero (though securely in the traditions of the My Most Memorable Teacher movie); he's sort of a younger Philippe Noiret. Director Christophe Barratier works in the winsome-cute mode that makes a certain kind of French movie into an overly sweet bon bon, although at least this bon bon sings. --Robert Horton

Customer Reviews:

  • Thoroughly Enjoyable
    Thoroughly enjoyable, moving and inspiring. Just what movies should be, and with beautiful music available on CD. So happy to have seen it....more info
  • A lovely, inspirational film
    Music has changed so many lives, in so many different ways. "The Chorus"--or "Les Choristes"--is a wonderful French film about a "prefect" at a school for troubled boys, who organizes a chorus as a way of reaching their hearts.

    G¨¦rard Jugnot plays the prefect, "Cl¨¦ment Mathieu," and he does so brilliantly. Jean-Baptiste Maunier plays "Pierre Morhange," the boy with the loveliest natural voice, who becomes a musical conductor later in his life.

    The film received two Academy Award nominations in 2004, including the "Best Foreign Language Film," and it depicts the harshness of such schools in post-war Europe, where parentless children were often institutionalized or worse. Yet, music and Mathieu's kindness are inspiring and become beacons of hope and joy.
    ...more info
  • Tr¨¦s Bien! film impressionnant !
    this is anawesome movie and the music is absolutly beautiful. I frst saw this with my friend at the movies and she loved it too. My friend and i both play viola so we really appreciated how good the music was. Jean Baptiste Maunier has such a beautiful voice, and Christopher Barriter did a wonderful job composing the music. Since we saw it, it has become our favorite movie. I have reccomended this to all my friends and music teachers. It is a movie that everyone should see. ...more info
  • A French film about one of those school teachers who makes a difference
    "Les Choristes" ("The Chorus") is a familiar story about a teacher that comes into a school and makes a difference for students that nobody else cares about. Even when you narrow down the category to include teachers who use music you should be able to name enough movies in this genre to fill up at least one hand full of fingers. In fact, the only thing that might make this 2004 film different from the others you have seen from "Goodbye, Mr. Chips" to "Music of the Heart," is that it in French. That is because "Les Choristes" takes place in France.

    At the start of this movie a man (Jacques Perrin) is awaken with news that someone has died. We learn that the man is a great conductor and when he goes home for the funeral there is another man (Didier Flamand) waiting for him. Many years ago they were students together at the Fond de l'Etang boarding school. Although this is not the best of circumstances, the other man has something to share with the conductor. The notebook of the man who was their teacher and who taught them how to sing. The opening page of the notebook is a sketch of the entrance to their school and the drawing transforms into a camera shot and we are back to the beginning of our story.

    In 1949 Clement Mathieu (Gerard Jugnot) arrives at Fond de l'Etang to be the new prefect. His introduction to the students is when Rachin (Franciois Berleand), the head of the school, is disciplining the entire school because no one will admit to being the one who injured one of the teachers with a prank. Mathieu is a tad overweight and bald, so before the students even know his name they are calling him "Chrome Dome." He knows even less about the boys, but clearly he does not like the way they are being treated and he takes a series of different approaches in dealing with them. A failed musician, Mathieu hears the boys signing a derogatory song about them and uses that as the inspiration to create a chorus. His motives are not exactly pure, because I think his primary goal at first is to hear his own music being sung. But in time they move on to something more formidable (I think it was Jean-Phlippe Rameau's "La Nuit").

    Three of the students stand out. Pierre Morhange (Jean-Baptiste Maunier), is one of the leaders of the boy and the least able to admit to having an interest in singing, but he has the voice of an angel. Pepinot (Maxence Perrin) is one of the smallest boys and an orphan, who believes that his father will come for him on a Saturday. The newcomer to the school is Mondain (Gregory Gatignol), a bully who is content to be hit over and over again because that is the world in which he lives. I appreciated the fact that Mathieu does not save them all, and that his legacy is not only with hi students but with the other teachers at the school. In a story that is fairly predictable, there is a grace note at the end that comes with what should be an unexpected turn of events. Beyond that it is the earnestness of the performances that elevates "Les Choristes" above other films in this genre. Your only complaint might be that you wish there was more singing from the boys once they get their act together. ...more info
  • Very Good Movie
    This is one of the best movies I have seen in awhile. The music is incredible. A great story, simply told about a great teacher.
    Even though the movie is in French with sub-titles this does not detract from the wonderful story.
    If you want a good movie without guns, sex, vulgar language and violence, this is the movie to see.
    Note: Only one brief scene with "Naughty" language and it goes by fast....more info
  • Absolutely Wonderful
    I was going to add my comments about this delightful film, but what could I add that hasn't already been said! It's all said in the comments by reviewer "Farr." I couldn't have said it any better. Buy this movie, you'll treasure it, and you'll recall that special teacher you remember growing up! ...more info
  • An inspiring beautiful film
    This movie may seem to some corny to many, trite, old - fashioned and simple- minded. But the story of how a sympathetic and good -hearted human being and teacher comes to a boarding -school in which Terror and Cruelty are the law, and transforms the broken spirits of the youngsters through music is inspirational and moving.
    The music is magnificent and this lifts the story to another level in the kind of feeling, the depth of sadness and joy it gives....more info
  • A delight to the eyes and the ears
    I purchased the CD first and then I just had to see the movie. If you can imagine anything of beauty coming from such a plot as this, you will soon discover that it is love of music is that thing of beauty. I will not give away the story line, but what a determined man can do with the voices of a group such as he had to work with, is amazing. I just floated with every note sung. ...more info
  • Never got the DVD
    The product was supposed to be here for sure over a week ago and I have not received the DVD I ordered. I sent them an email and have not received the product or a reply to the email. ...more info
  • Mon Essentiel
    I'm not kidding, without this movie I couldn't survive. It's so sweet and nice and happy. I like happy-ending movies that aren't scary but still have some action and suspense in them. This is a great, great movie, and I absolutely love it. So why did I only give it four stars? The subtitles are absolute rubbish. They're crap. Plain and simple. The actual songs are so poetic and lovely, but those subtitles turn them into just a bunch of words. I was so mad when I read them I wanted to call up the people who made them andn enquire about their sanity. If you're fortunate enough to speak French, you can fully appreciate the movie. If not, you can still appreciate it, but it won't be as lovely. Don't get me wrong: I think everyone should watch it. It's just that some of the passages are so hopeless I want to throw up. Ah well. At least they kep Jean-Baptiste Maunier in as Morhange. That kid is so amazing!!!...more info
  • Les Choristes
    Les Choristes is a touching, charming, funny, and thought-provoking film that teaches many lessons in life. More so, the story focuses on how a teacher encourages a group of underprivileged boys to believe in themselves and their capacities to develop and overcome obstacles in their daily lives. The result is often a feel-good drama and incorporates a balance of light humor. It was a pleasure to see how the film sets off with the two boys as adults reminiscing about school through their teacher's eyes, before the story flashes back to the boarding school they attended. As I watched the headmaster, Rachin, being an unsympathetic character and rigid with his rules, this film surprisingly did not dwell on too many unpleasant events, instead offered hope in the form of positive action with the help of Mathieu. He shows a caring attitude and tries to defend the boys instead of punishing them. Mathieu's success with the boys is that they learn to appreciate music and sing beautifully. More importantly, they learn to respect him and the others through their own success in music. Perhaps they've already had a talent in singing and they just needed someone to cultivate their own abilities. They eventually learn to treat one another with consideration, instead of the mischievous behaviour they previously displayed due to the traditional "action-reaction" methods. The story suggests that one person can make a difference. Mathieu was a great inspiration who taught humanity and respect - a wonderful conclusion to this drama. Overall, the performances of these actors throughout are excellent, and the music was especially entertaining. ...more info
  • Nicely crafted commercial movie.
    The plot is full of commonplaces, its characters are so cartoonish one
    can hardly feel anything for anybody, and I felt manipulated all the
    time. We've seen this story too many times. Better told, by Dickens,
    and even worse, like in "Devil's backbone/ El espinazo del diablo" and
    Mr Holland's Opus.

    I liked the way it shows the harsh life of this forgotten "layer" of
    society, good for those who idealize "all things European" like I do.
    Yes, the scenery is beautiful. So is Marie Brunel (Violette, Pierre's
    mum), in a pivotal secondary role. The sexual tension is greatly
    resolved! Gerard Jugnot IS great as the self-effacing but brilliant
    school teacher. Rachin, the principal/ headmaster, is quite overdone
    and erratic, but I'm sure it's the story that sucks. He does very well
    with a stupid character. His final attack on Clement is well done, I
    guess it's the only moment I felt I wasn't watching a film for
    children.

    The boys are VERY well cast, all of them. From the soloist soprano
    (what a voice!) to the criminal "Mondain" (name! *like Dickens :) ),
    the curly one, the "pedestal", and "Pepinot", the cute dreamy one who
    longs for his parents. The countess is fine too.

    It has a lot to say about educators in harsh conditions. Things must be
    much worse now that then, but Clement would make a great child
    psychologist if he really were an unemployed teacher! This "action/
    reaction" if of course a caricature of behaviourism. As such, it warns
    its most fervent practitioners I guess.

    It's a pity, this film could have been great, the topic is important
    for it to be treated like a (bad) Disney story. It even deals about
    child abuse in a great small dialogue in the beginning "I expect
    everything bad about people HERE" is the simple way the prefect/ guard
    Chabert sums it up. Who also ends up being charmed by Clement, who
    seems to have a way with everybody.

    Kim Anehall in Amazon writes greatly about how sometimes education
    receives the "rejects" from other professions, makes an intelligent
    analogy of Clement's "rebellion" to the way the French resistance
    worked, and describes very well the process it entails for him to win
    them over. Jeffrey E Ellis' Twain quote in the same place is GREAT, but could
    well be called "spoilers" too.

    Din't like this whole "racconto" and the fact the adult Pierre is a
    superstar musician. Found that particularly cheap, "winners only", very
    American in their worse sense. In he beginning Clement doesn't know how
    to "stand" in this fiery militarylike regime, his body tells it all.
    Some jokes demand some knowledge of French history, like his reactions
    to a Vichy song when he "auditions" the boys, or the answer of one kid about Napoleon's death :). The best one belongs to him, of
    course, when speaking on hell left behind to Rachin. Also towards the
    same target "I don't think you love many things". Overall, forgettable
    fable. No wonder it got such accolades and Oscar nomination :)!...more info
  • Great movie!
    I can't believe my local video store only got one copy of this movie! This is such a sweet movie. It brought back memories of the teachers who made a difference in my life.
    My whole family enjoyed it, although some words had to be covered from my younger ones!...more info
  • Angels with dirty faces . . .
    This gentle movie set in the French provinces in 1949 mixes a kind of postwar neorealism with a sentimental story about a choir master in a boys school, who wins the hearts and minds of an unruly band of delinquents and orphans. There's plenty of evidence from French cinema that boys schools were rough places and not really much different from reformatories. Here the amenties are few and the rules are many, and the school itself looks like it barely survived WWII.

    G¨¦rard Jugnot, a kind of sweetly tempered Wally Shawn, dubbed "Chrome Dome" from his first day on the job, delivers a lovingly nuanced performance of a teacher who understands how it's a mistake to make adversaries of students - they simply outnumber you - and to win them over by basically making deals with them, in which both of you have something to gain. He must play a careful balancing act between his own best instincts and the authoritarian headmaster, whose action-reaction school of discipline has all the boys seething with resentment and rebellion. But the boys find themselves drawn by curiosity into becoming a chorus, performing their teacher's own compositions. They finally triumph at a command performance before an aristocratic benefactor. Which is not to say all ends well, but anyone who has ever been a teacher will find much to recognize and celebrate in this charming film....more info
  • loved it
    I really loved this movie! It was touching and sweet. The music is beautiful! I recommend the CD as well!...more info
  • heaven
    Les Choristes is the best film I have ever seen. It truly is magnificent. I am a musician myself and adore music, and so this film was especially touching for me. The singing is wonderful and Jean-Baptiste Maunier, who has the main part of Pierre Morhange, is absolutely stunning. Words cannot describe his voice. He has shot to world fame through this film aged just 13 when it was released, which is unsurprising, and so has the choir that he used to sing with (Les Petits Chanteurs de Saint-Marc)who are the choir singing in the film. As a result of this film, I have discovered a love of France and the french language, and of choirboy singing. It also improved my french tremendously. I have bought the soundtrack for the film, I listen to it a lot, and I have rewatched the dvd many times. I even follow the news of Jean-Baptiste Maunier and listen to other songs he has recorded. I love this film, and I urge you to watch it. It will touch you and change your life....more info
  • Music is a universal language
    Admittedly, the plot is one that is all too familiar; a new teacher comes to a school, usually a school filled with difficult students and single-handedly turns their lives around (think Sister Act, Dangerous Minds, etc). I usually avoid these hated-teacher-turns-mentor-to-impossible-kids themed movies. As a general rule, they make me gag.
    However, I dont know what happened in " Les Choristes" but the formula works for them, and very well indeed. The plot is highly predictable but charming. Maybe, because the teacher here is more realistic, without the hardknock, street smart wit and comebacks that the other teacher-mentors seem to be naturally gifted with. He is rather goofy and you root for him. Everyone had a teacher that looked like him. The boys really seem like they are singing (though I've heard they are not the real singers) and you are seriously applauding this 'homemade' choir. The soundtrack is stellar (one of my next purchases). Of course, I'm a fan of all things subtitled and this movie is a ray of sunshine. ...more info
  • Good idea; no resolve
    I watched this film because of its Oscar nom, despite lulewarm reviews. There is certainly a lot of pathos involved, and I was more reminded of "Dead Poet's Society" than others mentioned in previous reviews. Music is always a terrific reliever of tension. I would like to think that justice was done, if this is, indeed, a true story. There are ugly moments throughout, and a few glorious moments that can make a simple mind like mine think that perfection could really happen, under the circumstances. "Les Choristes" is unrealistic in too many ways, but it's a good story; I wish our troubled children, way too many, could understand the power of music, and realize that the world ain't so bad...Music is INDEED a powerful life entity. ...more info
  • tr¨¦s bien!
    This is an awsome movie and the music is absolutly beautiful. I first saw it at the movies with my friend, and she loved it too. It has been our MOST favorite movie since then. I have reccomend this to all my friends. It is definatley a movie that you should see. ...more info
  • Great Movie
    This movie really does not get the credit it deserves. This movie is a must see....more info