Directed by: Christophe Barratier
Countries & Regions: France
Length: 96 mins
Region: Region 2
Released: 11 July 2005
Cat No: P916401000
Languages(s): French, English
Screen ratio 1:1.85
Dolby Digital 5.1
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French drama inspired by the 1947 film ’La Cage aux Rossignols’. Successful orchestra conductor Pierre Morhange (Jacques Perrin) returns... Read More
The Chorus was the surprise French smash of last year, becoming the number one box office hit in its homeland, earning numerous Best Foreign Film awards and spawning an incredibly successful soundtrack. The simple story of a schoolmaster (Gérard Jugnot) who is employed at a repressive boarding school for problematic boys, and who earns their respect and adoration when he organises a choir to channel their energies, instantly appealed to millions of cinemagoers, and the familiar storyline is expertly handled by debut director Christophe Barratier.
The Chorus has been described by some critics as a Hollywood film that happens to be in French, and similarly-themed movies such as Mr. Holland's Opus and Mona Lisa Smile certainly share may plot points with this film. Yet The Chorus is so enjoyable precisely because of its predictability - the sure knowledge that Jugnot will triumph despite a bad start, that the evil headmaster (a wonderfully hissable François Berléand) will get his comeuppance, that cute little orphan Pépinot (Maxence Perrin) will have his happy ending - all make The Chorus an irresistible crowd-pleaser.
Yet for many viewers it will be the music that really lodges in the mind. Bruno Coulais' moving and evocative score is perfectly suited to the beautiful choir voices, and the Oscar-nominated "Vois Sur Ton Chemin" is a particular highlight. Jean-Baptiste Maunier, the choir's soloist, became France's equivalent of Charlotte Church after being discovered through this film, and his hauntingly melodious soprano is what lingers most vividly in the film. Well, that and the tear-jerking final scene between Jugnot and Perrin, a shamelessly manipulative yet apposite ending to a highly likeable motion picture.