Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Falardeau's 'Monsieur Lazhar' Named Toronto Film Critics' Favourite: 'Monsieur Lazhar' Toronto Film Critics' Favourite

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Falardeau's 'Monsieur Lazhar' Named Toronto Film Critics' Favourite: 'Monsieur Lazhar' Toronto Film Critics' Favourite

Article excerpt

TORONTO - The awards keep mounting for Philippe Falardeau's intimate school drama "Monsieur Lazhar."

The Quebec feature has been named the best Canadian film by the Toronto Film Critics' Association, netting a $15,000 prize.

It beat out David Cronenberg's psychological study "A Dangerous Method" and Jean-Marc Vallee's sweeping love story "Cafe de Flore."

"I've had a good run with this film since the beginning," a surprised Falardeau said as he accepted the award from comic actress Andrea Martin at a gala dinner Tuesday.

"It's been amazing, it's been mind-boggling... and I think most directors would be lying if they said they (weren't) longing for good critiques. I can appreciate how hard work it is...when it's well done."

"Monsieur Lazhar" is Canada's submission for the best foreign language category at the Oscars.

It centres on an Algerian immigrant hired to take over a Montreal classroom of 11- and 12-year-olds struggling to cope with their previous teacher's tragic death.

It has also collected prizes at film festivals in Toronto and Locarno, Switzerland.

The latest award could not have come at a better time for Falardeau -- "Monsieur Lazhar" is slated to open in Toronto and Vancouver on Jan. 27.

Critics also awarded Toronto director Ingrid Veninger the Jay Scott Prize for best emerging artist for her movie "i am a good person/i am a bad person."

It comes with a $5,000 cash prize that Veninger said would go straight into her next project, "a lo-fi musical-fantasy-lesbian-love story-road trip."

"It just gives me steam to keep going and keep making movies by whatever means necessary," Veninger said as she accepted the award, presented to her by Toronto director Bruce McDonald.

"Whether I get financing, whether I don't get financing, whether I self-distribute, whether I get distribution it doesn't matter -- just by whatever means necessary with passion and conviction and straight from my heart that's what I'm going to keep on doing. …

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