Tonights viewing was ‘The Chorus’; a foreign fillum no less. French- if you don’t mind,- a story about a teacher and a school full of hard-chaws in post-war France. It was in the grand tradition of : ‘to Sir with Love’ and ‘Dead Poets Society’, ‘Dangerous Minds’ and a little bit of ‘Scum’ thrown in.
I think it’s a fact, of any artistic endeavour, that people respond well to it if they can see themselves in it.
An aspect of all school-days-based-operas is that everybody has been to school and remembers the dynamic of that system and the operators within it: so they should be able to see themselves, or at least their younger-selves, easily enough.
For me though, these films have an extra angle because I have spent time and energy and years of my life going back in to those rooms and playing to that tough crowd not only as the messer, but also as the bloke who's 'sposed to be in charge. So what can I say of this fillum?
I was moved (as if that means anything). Well alright it is French, and what with it being all'n all French'n all, I feel inclined to let it away with things that would absolutely rankle in an English-spoken equivalent.
It was sacharrin in some ways, yes. But although the story had many of the clichéd and upbeat markers of the genre, it didn’t have the standard happy ending and it didn’t have the eventual redemption of ‘the bad kid’ either and so deserves praise for that. Also, as one might expect from the premise, there is some truly, truly beautiful music and I feel worthy also of mention is the casting.
Casting is a small thing, and it doesn’t account for much by way of work, but it does have an inordinate effect on one’s perception of things; when a film is cast and some body plays the main character as a boy and somebody else plays him as the teenager and somebody plays the adult and somebody plays the old man- they have to look like each other.
In this film, the only match-up to be done was between a twelve-year old boy and a man in his sixties and, I kid you not, they were the most perfect inter-age coupling of two actors to play one person I have ever seen. Also the ‘bad kid’ the rough nut, whatever you-call-him; he just had a completely believable head for that part. I’m sure he grew up on the Donaghs,- and tried to sell me a stolen mountain-bike one time. I’m sure of it.
A film to end all films? A film to rock your world? A brainless roller coaster ride with a decent bit of blood and snots flyin' round in it? 'The Chorus' was none of the above, but it was good and... I dunno... honest (in a stylised French way).
A good film for ex-ideological educators who like kids singing in French.
There are people who would see it on a par with 'The Mighty Ducks' and...
I'm one of them.
Mind you: I love 'The Mighty Ducks'.
Most under-rated fillum. ever.
And I mean that now.