Entertainment January 25, 2012
Philippe Falardeau On The Immigrant Experience

Quebec director Philippe Falardeau's Oscar-nominated movie "Monsieur Lazhar" tells the story of a Algerian man hired as a Montreal elementary school teacher. The filmmaker talks to George tonight about what led him to try looking at his city through the eyes of an immigrant.

Here he is explaining how his own experiences in foreign countries inspired him:

George: "What I liked about it - there were lots of things I liked about it - but one of the things was you were telling the immigrant story and Canadians have this idea of what it means to be an immigrant to Canada but we talk about it kinda like 40 years ago. It's a different reality now. ...and you've really painted that picture. Why was that an important story for you to tell?"

Philippe Falardeau: "You know, I began - I studied political science then I ventured into filmmaking by accident. I did a show 20 years ago on French CBC called Race Around the World and I had to do 20 short films in 20 different countries. I was alone working with a VHS camera. I was the immigrant. I was the one trying to fit in, trying to figure out how society works and it was one country every week so when I came back I was always obsessed with that. Looking at ourselves through the point of view of an immigrant and when you meet a person from another country you have no idea what he went through and that also, the untold story, just like the character in the film is...he has a lot of dignity, he doesn't want to tell his story, he doesn't want to bother anyone with that but I think he needs to talk about that."



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