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Encyclopedia > The Chorus
Les Choristes

Les Choristes film poster
Directed by Christophe Barratier
Produced by Arthur Cohn,
Jacques Perrin,
Gérard Jugnot etc
Written by Christophe Barratier,
Philippe Lopes-Curval, etc
Starring Gérard Jugnot,
Jean-Baptiste Maunier,
François Berléand
Distributed by Miramax Films (USA)
Release date(s) March 17, 2004
Running time 96 min
Language French
Budget ~ 5,500,000
IMDb profile

The Chorus (French: Les Choristes), is a 2004 film directed by Christophe Barratier. The plot is about a passionate music teacher who arrives at a correctional boarding school for boys and transforms their lives through music. The film stars Gérard Jugnot as Clément Mathieu the teacher, and Jean-Baptiste Maunier as Pierre Morhange, one of his students, a musical prodigy. The movie is based on La Cage aux Rossignols. Les Choristes movie poster File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Arthur Cohn (born February 4, 1927 in Basel, Switzerland) is a film producer who received several Oscars for his films. ... Jacques Perrin (born July 13, 1941 in Paris) is a French actor and film maker. ... Gérard Jugnot (Paris, 4 May 1951 is a French actor, director, screenwriter and producer. ... Gérard Jugnot (Paris, 4 May 1951 is a French actor, director, screenwriter and producer. ... Jean-Baptiste Maunier is the child musical prodigy who took part in the 2004s Les Choristes. ... François Berléand (born on 22 April, 1952, in Paris, France) is a French actor. ... Miramax Films is a film production and distribution brand that was a Big Ten film motion picture distribution and production company headquartered in New York City before being bought out by The Walt Disney Company. ... March 17 is the 76th day of the year (77th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... shelby was here 2004 (MMIV) was a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... A minute is a unit of time equal to 1/60th of an hour and to 60 seconds. ... “EUR” redirects here. ... The year 2004 in film involved some significant events. ... Film is a term that encompasses individual motion pictures, the field of film as an art form, and the motion picture industry. ... For other uses, see Music (disambiguation). ... A boarding school is an educational institution where some or all pupils not only study, but also live, amongst their peers. ... Gérard Jugnot (Paris, 4 May 1951 is a French actor, director, screenwriter and producer. ... Jean-Baptiste Maunier is the child musical prodigy who took part in the 2004s Les Choristes. ...


The film explores the pain of a child's separation from his parents, and the transcendence of music as the greatest form of expression.


The film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film; the song "Vois Sur Ton Chemin" (Look at Your Path) was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Song. Look To Your Path (French: Vois Sur Ton Chemin) is an Academy Award-nominated song from the 2004 film The Chorus. ... Look To Your Path (French: Vois Sur Ton Chemin) is an Academy Award-nominated song from the 2004 film The Chorus. ...


Plot

The movie begins in the present. Pierre Morhange (Jacques Perrin), an aged, world-famous French conductor who now resides in the US, receives a call from France informing him of his mother's death. Morhange returns to France for the funeral. While at his French home, a middle-aged man appears at his door. Morhange has no idea who the man is, but the stranger eventually reveals himself to be Pépinot (Didier Flamand), one of Morhange's old classmates at the correctional school, Fond de L'Etang, which they attended back in 1949. Pépinot shows Morhange the journal of Clément Mathieu, who was their supervisor and unofficial choir conductor. Morhange proceeds to read the rest of the journal, and the real story begins. Jacques Perrin (born July 13, 1941 in Paris) is a French actor and film maker. ...



It is 1949, and Clement Mathieu (Gérard Jugnot) has taken the position of proctor(surveillant in the French version) at the Fond De L'Étang (literally, Bottom of the Pond) school for troubled boys. Middle-aged and having failed his dream of becoming an accomplished composer, Mathieu is still cautiously optimistic, despite the alarming attitude of the former prefect, who expresses how glad he is to leave. Mathieu's predecessor, however, is kind enough to warn him of the more dangerous students at the school. Gérard Jugnot (Paris, 4 May 1951 is a French actor, director, screenwriter and producer. ...



They include young Pierre Morhange (Jean-Baptiste Maunier), the boy with the angelic face but devilish temperament, and Le Querrec (Cyril Bernicot), whose prankster booby trap severely injures the school's elderly custodian, Maxence. On the other hand, not all of the kids are malevolent; an example is the small, adorable orphan Pepinot (Maxence Perrin). However, that matters not with the school's strict and unsympathetic headmaster, Rachin (Francis Berleand), who has imposed the motto "Action Reaction" upon the school. He and another adult, Chabert (Kad Merad), liberally administer corporal punishment and periods of confinement, which prove ineffective as the children continue to misbehave. Jean-Baptiste Maunier is the child musical prodigy who took part in the 2004s Les Choristes. ... Maxence Perrin (born 1996) is a French actor best known for his parts in Les Choristes (English title The Chorus), Petit homme and For intérieur. ... François Berléand (born on 22 April, 1952, in Paris, France) is a French actor. ...



Meanwhile, after several failed attempts to discipline his students, Mathieu decides to try and get through to them with music. After hearing the children sing songs of mockery about him, including ones that refer to him as "cueball" for his baldness, he instead reacts positively by stating that "some of them even had good voices." He soon turns his class into a choir and composes songs for them, finding great inspiration in finally having someone perform his works. This manages to capture his students' interest and slowly alters the environment of the school--the students generally behave better, and even the other teachers are impressed with the choir and the children's subtle changes in attitude.



After a while, the students are joined by two more classmates: Pierre Morhange, who had been in detention when Matthieu started teaching, and Mondain, a special case from the local mental institute. Though not officially crazy, Mondain is a borderline case with an extremely violent and anti-social attitude. The caretaker at the institute tells Rachin that he wants to study how Mondain adjusts to a less strictly controlled environment. Mondain later boasts to one boy of having murdered one of his previous supervisors at the institute.



Both of the new children become trouble in Mathieu's class. Mondain's unabashed refusal to obey Mathieu's orders prompts the other children to follow suit, with them slipping back into the mode of willful disobedience and quasi-criminality that they had inhabited before the choir was started. Meanwhile, Morhange has an absolutely beautiful voice, referred to as a "miracle" by Mathieu. The boy's stupendous voice and incredible musical talent lead him to become the choir's soloist. However, throughout the movie, it grows apparent that Mathieu has strong feelings for Morhange's single mother, Violette. When Morhange suspects this when his mother visits one day, he rebelliously throws an ink bomb at Mathieu. Upon this, Violette storms out of the school, expressing her disappointment in her son. However, Mathieu chases after her and they discuss Morhange's future--Mathieu wishes to send Morhange to the Conservatory in Lyon and thus help the child achieve his musical potential. Despite this, during the next choir rehearsal, Morhange angrily finds that his solo has been cut out. Mathieu responds by saying that his "voice isn't bad, but no one is indispensable." Morhange storms out of the room.



A few days later, Mathieu receives a note from Violette, who wishes to have lunch with him at a cafe to further discuss Morhange's future. During their meeting, she thanks him gratefully for dramatically changing her life for the better. Yet, just as things are looking up, Violette reveals that she has met an engineer from Lyon whom she is dating. She leaves, completely unaware of Mathieu's feelings, as he sits there alone and reflects upon his misfortune.



Later, news arrives that the Countess has heard of the success of the choir and wants to visit for a performance. Rachin reprimands Mathieu because the headmaster does not want to deal with the hassle, despite it being a great honor for the Countess to visit. Yet, when the Countess arrives and asks whose idea it was to start the choir, Rachin takes all the credit for himself. Mathieu plays along and proceeds to start the performance. The Countess interrupts and asks why one boy, Morhange, is just standing in the corner by himself, looking extremely sullen and bitter. Mathieu simply states that "he is a special case" and commences the song, "La Nuit."



The following performance is one of the key defining moments of the movie; the choir sings beautifully with utterly wondrous voices. During the middle, Mathieu then slowly has the chorus die down and turns to Morhange standing in the corner, motioning him to sing his former solo. Morhange is surprised and hesitates, but proceeds to sing absolutely celestially in front of the entire school and the Countess. It is a truly moving moment as Mathieu states that he saw something different in Morhange's eyes--joy and gratitude. The performance is so amazingly beautiful that one of the teachers appears on the verge of tears.



Things go awry, however, when more than 200,000 Francs are stolen from Rachin; Mondain is accused at once, since he had run away at the same time of the theft, and is arrested by the police. Maxence eventually finds the money along with a pupil's harmonica hidden in the toilets, revealing that it another pupil, Corbin, was the thief. Mathieu takes Corbin aside and asks why he stole it. Corbin replies that he wanted to use the money and buy a hot air balloon--this highlights one of the thematic elements of the movie, in which these trapped young children simply want to have freedom and leave the boarding school for home. Mathieu then tells Rachin that they found the money stowed somewhere else, and that it thus could not have been Mondain who stole it (he keeps Corbin's identity secret). Yet, Rachin refuses to readmit Mondain.



A little while later, Rachin sets out for Lyon to receive the Legion of Honour. The ceremony is interrupted, though, as terrible news arrives from Fond de l'Étang: the school building is on fire, Mondain having returned to burn it down. Fortunately, the students had gone out with Maxence and Mathieu into the forest for a picnic as a nice day off. Rachin is extremely angry with Mathieu and Maxence, because they neglected their responsibility by leaving the school unattended. Mathieu is fired as Rachin calls him a failure and a "small, unemployed proctor." French Legion of Honor The Légion dhonneur (in Legion of Honor (AmE) or Legion of Honour (ComE)) is an Order of Chivalry awarded by the President of France. ...



Mathieu exits the room and proceeds to leave the school, greatly disheartened that none of the students have bothered breaking the rules a little to say good-bye. However, he then hears their wonderful singing coming from the tower above, as dozens of paper airplanes with letters are flown out of the window. He takes a few of them and leaves, feeling a new wave of optimism despite his otherwise immense disappointment at losing something so important.


Epilogue

Rachin is eventually forced to resign after all the other teachers of the school report his abuse. Pierre Morhange and his mother soon leave her fiance, the engineer, after he tries to send Pierre to another boarding school. Morhange is admitted to the Conservatory and pursues his singing career. It is also revealed that before Mathieu had boarded the bus to leave the school, Pepinot had arrived with his luggage and adorably asked Mathieu to take him along (both of Pepinot's parents had died). The former teacher at first says that it is not possible for him to do that, but eventually has a change of heart and lets Pepinot come with him (thus connecting to the beginning of the movie by explaining why Pepinot has Mathieu's possessions). Mathieu taught music until the end of his days, achieving no special fame but deep influence on the lives of many students.


External links


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