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The Chorus (Les Choristes)

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

An inspirational story in the rich tradition of MUSIC OF THE HEART and MR. HOLLAND'S OPUS, THE CHORUS has moved critics everywhere to declare it one of the year's very best films! When he takes a job teaching music at a school for troubled boys, Clément Mathieu is unprepared for its harsh discipline and depressing atmosphere. But with passion and unconventional teaching methods, he's able to spark his students' interest in music and bring them a newfound joy! It also puts him at odds with the school's overbearing headmaster, however, locking Mathieu in a battle between politics and the determination to change his pupils' lives!


By getting nominated for Academy Awards in both the Foreign Language Film and Best Song categories, Les Choristes (The Chorus) made a rare (for a European film) double impression at the 2004 Oscars. This sentimental tale follows the arrival of a new teacher at a remote boys school in 1949 France (the war is a largely unspoken but ghostly presence). With disciplinary problems rampant, and the policies of the old-fashioned headmaster not helping, Monsieur Mathieu decides to introduce choral singing as a way to bridge the gap with his students. You don't need a crystal ball to figure out where this will go, although the movie uses its atmospheric location and lush vocal arrangements well. Bald, dumpy Gerard Jugnot provides a refreshingly offbeat hero (though securely in the traditions of the My Most Memorable Teacher movie); he's sort of a younger Philippe Noiret. Director Christophe Barratier works in the winsome-cute mode that makes a certain kind of French movie into an overly sweet bon bon, although at least this bon bon sings. --Robert Horton

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Gérard Jugnot, François Berléand, Kad Merad, Jean-Paul Bonnaire, Marie Bunel
  • Directors: Christophe Barratier
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Miramax
  • DVD Release Date: May 3, 2005
  • Run Time: 97 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (258 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007NMJPO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,462 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Chorus (Les Choristes)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

96 of 100 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey E Ellis on July 31, 2005
Format: DVD
Prisons are filled with people without hope; perhaps especially prisons which house young boys. Devoid of the normal pleasures of life in which boys delight, these ruffians lead desperate, bland, colorless lives of few joys, little change, and little love. Into this drab, dreary, and harsh enviornment arrives our lovable dreamer, Prefect Clement Mathieu.

A frustrated musician/composer, Mathieu has an idea: organize this rag-tag group of troublemakers into a boys choir. Like a wildflower in the field, this group springs into beautiful song and harmonies. It also upsets a few people along the way. No good deed goes unpunished, as Mark Twain said, and this one is no exception.

Mathieu is different than the other prefects and administrator/teachers, he loves the boys and in that lies the difference.

The Chorus is a sweet, gentle, moving film. Everything about it is exceptionaly well done. Remarkable acting, writing, filming, and storytelling make this a film which lingers sweetly in the mind of the viewer, long after the credits have scrolled by.
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80 of 85 people found the following review helpful By B. Alcat on March 16, 2005
Format: DVD
"Fond de l'Etang", France, 1949. Data with no meaning for you right now, but that has a lot to do with this movie. What does that data mean?. Well, it is the place and time that set the background for this wonderful story.

The country is France, and the date 1949, some years after the end of the Second World War. "Fond de l'Etang" is a strict school for troubled children, mostly orphans who have lost their parents in the war. They live more or less unhappy lives, wanting to play outside but forbidden to do so. They express themselves only through rebellious acts, to which the harsh director of the school responds on the basis of the principle "action-reaction". Unfortunately, that principle doesn't solve things...

One day, the arrival of a new preceptor disturbs the school's routine. He is Clement Mathieu (Gérard Jugnot), a frustrated musician that has arrived to this school only after having failed at a variety of jobs, and who isn't overly excited at the prospect of having to deal with a bunch of unruly kids. Things don't start well, due to the fact that the students don't respect him, and that he doesn't agree with the director's "educational" methods. However, one day Mathieu listens the children singing out of tune, and realises that he can teach them to sing well. As he does so, trust begins to build between them, and the students start to face life in a different way...

Clement Mathieu kept a journal during the time he was at "Fond de l'Etang", and it is throughout his words that we are allowed to "watch" what happened. The films begins when one of Mathieu's previous pupils at "Fond de l'Etang" returns to his home due to the death of his mother.
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118 of 130 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 23, 2005
Format: DVD
Many people with failed careers often turn to education as a refuge where they still can be a part of what they love the most. These refugees usually do not have any idea of what they are about to do to themselves, as they are about to face young people who believe they know everything or lack the enthusiasm that they possess. Often it turns out to be a wake-up call that the previous job was not that bad after all, despite previous failures. Some of these refugees turn out to be excellent educators while others fail again. In Les Choristes, known as the Chorus here in United States, the audience is introduced to one of these refugees that is about to embark on a rough voyage, as he has taken a job as supervisor in a boarding school for troubled children.

Christophe Barratier who directs Les Choristes has previously produced excellent films such as Himalaya (1999) and Winged Migration (2001). The story that Barratier tells opens in New York where a man is half in slumber on a couch when someone awakens him in order to inform him that there is an emergency phone call for him. It appears that the man's mother has just passed away, which leads him to return to home. When the man arrives home the audience can deduct through the mise-en-scene that the man is the best conductor in the world. After the funeral a strange man knocks on the door to ask the conductor if he recognizes him while he has a gift for him from an old teacher. The gift is a journal in regards to what happened in the year of 1949 at the Fond de l'Etang boarding school.

The journal was a gift from his old teacher, Clement Mathieu (Gerard Jugnot), which brings the viewers back to the year of 1949.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Miss Mel on February 20, 2005
Format: DVD
I saw Les Choristes while in France and fell in love. This film is a lovely story for the whole family. The plot may be simple, but the message will always be significant. The story is reminiscent of "Dead Poets' Society," but stands on its own and has amazing music as an added perk. Not only does French sound good as a language, but it also sounds great in music. The sweet boys choir that sings is outstanding and the soloist's voice is angelic. Don't miss out. This is an excellent film.
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