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Etre Et Avoir

Etre Et Avoir

At a rural school in the Auvergne region of France, teacher Georges Lopez presides over a class of thirteen children, ages 4 to 11. Lopez teaches the different age groups separate lessons, making rounds to ensure that each child understands the task at hand--whether it is coloring a picture, learning math, or making crepes. Problems do arise, though--one student is threatened with missing playtime if his work isn't finished, shoving matches must be mediated, and another student appears to have a significant problem communicating. Lopez, a 20-year teaching veteran on the verge of retirement, is a model of sensitivity and understanding in dealing with the children. Never raising his voice and never talking down to them, the trust and respect they have for him is as palpable as his affection for them. Director Nicholas Philibert's camera is a casual observer, choosing to capture, in an unfettered manner, Lopez's special way with the students--whether explaining to them that he will be retiring soon, or diffusing a long-running rivalry between two of the oldest boys.