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12 Movie Moments of 2012: Dancing (Monsieur Lahzar)

As well as counting down the top twelve films, I’m also going to count down my top twelve movie related “moments” of 2012. The term “moment” is elastic, so expect some crazy nonsense here. And, as usual, I accept that my taste is completely absurd, so I fully expect you to disagree. With that in mind, this is #5

Sometimes it’s the simplest moments that stick in the memory. Monsieur Lahzar was a superb little French-Canadian film that went under the radar last year. It’s a film that I really recommend. Comedian Mohamed Fellag gives a wonderfully moving central performance as a replacement teacher helping his class deal with the suicide of his predecessor. The eponymous Lahzar is so buttoned down that it’s oddly affecting to watch him interact with the children, but it’s the smaller private moments that allow Fellag to really craft and define his character.

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A small scene on the night of the school’s concert, as Lahzar allows himself a moment off from the paper work, to find the rhythm slowly affecting him, is a beautiful little moment. Like so many great movie moments, it works do to a combination of factors. Fallag’s performance is superb, but the scene works so well thanks to a combination of factors.

Mathieu Beaudin’s sound department manages to craft an aural landscape creating the impression of a party being help in the distance. Filtered through concrete and windows, it almost sounds as if the party is half the world away. Ronald Plante’s cinematography beautifully creates an impression of Lahzar’s isolation. It’s so often emoptional, but in this scene it seems remarkably literal, due to the way the scene is lit and shot.

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Sometimes it’s the simplest moments that stay with you. The image of a buttoned down character unable to resist the call of music is a simple moment. In Monsieur Lahzar, it is a beautiful one.

Check out our other movie moments of 2012:

12. We Built This City (Rock of Ages)

11. September (Intouchables)

10. Joseph Gordon-Levitt (The Dark Knight Rises, Premium Rush, Looper)

09. Throwing the toys together (The Avengers)

08. Running (Shame)

07. “You’d love my boyfriend, he’s a total chick flick nut.” (ParaNorman)

06. The Dark Knight Returns (The Dark Knight Rises)

05. Dancing (Monsieur Lahzar)

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