Year: 2002
USA: New Yorker Films
UK: Metro Tartan Distribution
Cast: Georges Lopes, Alize, Axel, Guillaume, Jessie, Johan (Jojo), Johann, Jonathan, Julien, Laura, Letitia, Marie-Elisabeth, Nathalie, Olivier
Director: Nicholas Philibert
Country: France
Language: French (English subtitles)
UK: 104 mins
UK Certificate: U contains infrequent mild language
USA Release Date: 26 September 2003 (Limited Release -New York)
UK Release Date: 20 June 2003 (Limited Release)


All over France, one can still find so-called 'single class schools' that bring together all children in a single class around a single teacher, from kindergarten age to those about to move on to middle school.

These classes are threatened with closure as soon as their numbers dwindle, keep numerous isolated villages alive, but for how much longer? Some teachers have chosen to follow this path. Others have arrived there by chance, the majority of them no longer want to move on, and reject any return to the traditional system.

This film was shot in one of these schools, somewhere in the heart of Auvergne, between Ambert and Issoire. At its centre is Georges Lopez - a dedicated, soon-to-retire teacher responsible for nurturing a dozen students ages 3 - 11 in all subjects, ranging from maths to cooking. Caught between self-isolation and an open approach to the world at large, this small eclectic group shares everyday life, for better and for worse, along the steep path of learning to read, write and count.