Daniel is the devoted schoolmaster of a kindergarten in a small French town. The local economy, which depended entirely on coal production, has been mired in a depression ever since the mines were closed, leading to rampant unemployment and increasing poverty.
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I had recently compared L.627 to The Wire: well this completes the comparison, giving a glimpse into the life of a kindergarten in a mining town. Made me think a lot of Edouard Louis's novel, which deals with a lot of the similar themes, but is so unapologetically accusatory that I stopped reading. I hope there are more films like this. I'm not big on period dramas but I've become quite fond of the social Tavernier.
"Do the dogs have mirth?" I can't for the life of me make sense of all those absurdist nursery rhymes but that's just one of the many little details that add to this film's evocative charm. Tavernier also plays with (clarinet heavy!) diagetic/non-diagetic sound in a way that absolutely complements the abrupt ups and downs of this delightful and courageously human narrative. Blown away by how grand this was.
Bureaucracy distances us from others, makes them abstract, so how can we be fully human, how can we do our utmost for the vulnerable, how can we be the advocates that the world so needs when we exist within an institutional structure dominated by apathy and adversariality? Answers do not come easily, but to work towards them is our fundamental obligation and duty to others.
Made almost twenty years ago, but even more relevant now, as the continuing tragedy it highlights
with urgency and sincerity keeps accelerating in
Western society. Tavernier, knowing all he does
about cinematic form, artfully crafts the film's unique
structure and nature to achingly embody its message
...to haunt and galvanize you. A fervent plea to continue what we call civilization, in ever more anarchic times.