Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Movie Review: Les Choristes (2004)

Les Choristes Posted by Hello

Well, I'm not sure whether I watched this movie because I like boy choirs, or whether I like boy choirs because I watched the movie! lol Either way, the movie is wonderful but the soundtrack is spectacular!!!

It's a French movie and it is the semi-autobiographical story of the director Christophe Barratier. It belongs in the tradition of inspirational teacher dramas - see such predecessors as Dead Poets Society, Mr Holland's Opus, and Goodbye, Mr Chips - and unapologetically tugs at the heart strings.

It is set in Post-War France and involves an out-of-job failed music composer who takes a job as a prefect in a boarding school for delinquent children and turns them around by imparting to them his love of music. By forming a boy's chorus he keeps a lot of them out of mischief. Jean-Baptiste Maunier, who plays the choir soloist in the movie, is a choir boy and first-time actor. Maunier's ephemeral voice, and his real-life choir companions are heard throughout the film on the gorgeous sound track with music by Bruno Coulais. The boys have become big stars in France, even performing around the country. Maunier, in particular, has reached rock-star status in France. According to the BBC, his biggest hit is even downloadable as a cell-phone ring-tone. Now, that's a true measure of success in France.

"Les Choristes" was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. That's not too shabby for first-time filmmaker Barratier, who made this with little money (about $6 million), only one camera and a host of amateur child actors (A lot of the other boys in the movie have real life difficulties and the movie has managed to help a lot of them.)

After the movie, France seems to have gone mad over boy choirs and a lot of parents are demanding that schools reintroduce boy choirs.