To Be and To Have


To Be and To Have or ‘Etre et avoir’ is a French documentary film released in 2002. The movie, directed by Nicolas Philibert, was screened as an ‘Out of Competition’ film at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival. The film also won numerous awards like Cesar Award for best editing, European Film Award for being the best documentary and,   the Louis Delluc Prize for the best film.
The movie charts the life of a teacher, Georges Lopez, and the pupil he teaches at a tiny, single-room school in Auvergne, France.   The single-room provides space for children   from kindergarten and primary school to learn. The boys and girls, aged between four to ten,  are handled by the dedicated and caring teacher, who himself is nearing retirement. The students are taught the basics of reading, writing and mathematics. They are also introduced to playful activities like baking, tobogganing in the snow and picnicking in the fields.
Georges handles all the students by moving back and forth between them, adjusting his teaching style to match the needs of the children. He ensures that the children discover things for themselves by questioning and kindling their thoughts. He works towards preparing his students for the outside world and helps them get along with each other by settling their disputes through a reasoned discussion. He also encourages them to express their fears and worries.
The movie documents the trials and tribulations of this small group and, Georges stays as a constant reminder of how personal connect helps children learn better.   The emotional bond between the students and the teacher makes ‘To Be and To Have’ a must watch for both children and teachers!
This article was originally published in TheTeacher.in magazine in the month of February, 2019.