The Orchestra Class (La Mélodie) (M)
Friday 2 November - 10.30am, 6pm & 8.15pm
Algerian-born director Rachid Hami’s film may tread familiar territory but it refreshingly eschews the simplistic sentimental cinematic notion of ‘musical misfits make good’ and strikes an engaging harder-edged chord with its story of a dour French-Algerian classical violinist who attempts to encourage, tame and ultimately inspire a raucous and resolutely rude Parisian music class. This inspiring ode to the transformative power of music unfolds with a refreshingly low-key naturalism. Simon (Kad Merad) is a classical violinist who finds himself way out of his element when he signs on to teach music to a class of unruly and generally apathetic middle-school students on the multicultural outskirts of Paris. One exception: Arnold (Renely Alfred), the sensitive son of a single mother from Côte d’Ivoire, whose passion for the violin gradually energizes both his classmates and the disillusioned Simon. Empathetic without being maudlin, Orchestra Class is distinguished by the way it roots its uplifting teacher-student saga in the socio-economic realities of immigrant life.