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End of term

Hands up all teachers who are knackered! I can't complain at all, though. The pupils at my Grammar School are willing and bright, but you nevertheless count down the days to the end of term. My effort-reducing regime this end of term has included:

Showing Les Choristes to Y10 and Y11. It's a lovely movie with a very clear soundtrack, accessible language and an uplifting theme. It tells the story, in flashback, of Clément Mathieu who in 1949 goes to work in a boarding school for difficult boys and who turns the kids round by forming a choir. You'd have to be hard-hearted not to well up. Good to see my lower set Y10s enjoying this experience and learning to watch a film with sub-titles. If they do not watch a sub-titled film in language lessons, when will they?

I've now shown the last of my Truffaut movies to the A2 groups. I've gone with La Femme d'à Côté, Truffaut's penultimate film about obsessive and destructive love. I guess you'd have to say that Truffaut was repeating himself by 1981. OK, let's be honest, he was always repeating himself! The final scene where Fanny Ardant shoots Gérard Depardieu then shoots herself echoes precisely the final scene of Jules et Jim wherein Jeanne Moreau drives herself and her lover off a bridge to their death. "Ni sans toi, ni avec toi" sums it up nicely. La Femme d'à Côté may not be his greatest work, but I am still left thinking what other movies Truffaut would have made had he lived to a decent age. Maybe like many artists, he did his best work when he was young. Les 400 Coups and Jules et Jim remain his masterpieces. My students had mixed views: some preferring Les 400 Coups, one or two Le Dernier Métro, one La femme d'à Côté. Jules et Jim, the critics' usual favourite garnered less support. Maybe it has dated, maybe the Jeanne Moreau character is just too infuriatingly flighty, maybe it just does fails to engage emotionally. Truffaut often de-sentimentalised his films, hating the idea of manipulating the viewer's feelings. You have to go along with him on that one, otherwise you can be switched off.

For me, the most feel-good of his films is La Nuit Américaine.

If you've never watched Truffaut films, give him a try.

Les Choristes unashamedly, and in a calculated fashion, presses all the right emotional buttons and was thus a hit.

My Y7s worked on the brilliant Noël section of My AS group did my general knowledge quizzes on, whilst my Y9 group did some French video quizzes from the Ashcombe School site.

Tomorrow I have a gapfill on Noël Blanc to do (thanks to Martin Lapworth of Taskmagic fame) plus some end of term French quizzes.

A break is due. Christmas at home with Elspeth, Joel and my parents-in-law, then a week in Puyravault.


  1. Hello! I've watched Les Choristes with my Y10s too - love that film and am, unabashedly, a big Jean-Baptiste Maunier fan :). Love the Cerf-Volant song. There is a nice video on YouTube of Patrick Bruel, Garou, Jean-Baptiste Maunier and others, singing Qui a le Droit at Les Enfoires one year, though not sure if Patrcik Bruel is your cup of tea... ;)
    My Y10s loved the film too, (especially the girls!) and as you say, was lovely to see some enthusiasm for a FL film.
    Oh - and my hand's up for the exhausted teacher thing... Esther

  2. Happy Christmas, Esther. When are you going to drop in? We're not trying to avoid you!

  3. Merry Christmas to you too :)
    I will definitely drop in in the New Year - I have kept meaning to, not sure where the time's gone this year! All very exciting from January as I will be MAGT/Global Schools Co-ordinator - will let you know how it's all going when I call in. Hope all is really well with you, Esther


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