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It All Starts Today
It All Starts Today
Actors: Philippe Torreton, Maria Pitarresi, Nadia Kaci, Véronique Ataly, Nathalie Bécue
Director: Bertrand Tavernier
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
NR     2002     1hr 57min

Studio: Facets Multimedia Release Date: 11/26/2002 Run time: 117 minutes


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Movie Details

Actors: Philippe Torreton, Maria Pitarresi, Nadia Kaci, Véronique Ataly, Nathalie Bécue
Director: Bertrand Tavernier
Creators: Alain Choquart, Bertrand Tavernier, Sophie Brunet, Alain Sarde, Frédéric Bourboulon, Dominique Sampiero, Tiffany Tavernier
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Studio: Facets Multimedia Distribution
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 11/26/2002
Original Release Date: 01/01/1999
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1999
Release Year: 2002
Run Time: 1hr 57min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 3
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: French
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Required Viewing!
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 01/21/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Now and then brave directors and producers gather their courage and create a film that carries a profound message and seem to be concerned not about the glitz and glamour of their product, but about the impact it has on its audience. The French film IT ALL STARTS TODAY is such a movie. Briefly stated, the story deals with a committed kindergarten school teacher/director whose pupils are for the most part from homes of poverty, where obtaining an education is unwillingly pushed into the 'luxury' status of adults who are jobless, emotionally damaged, and otherwise unable to nurture the children they have brought into the world. The school is a haven where excellent, warm teachers and staff provide not only inspiration to the mind but at time the only food the children can access. The director struggles with the mayor, the social workers, the System - all frustrating to the point of denying even the most basic essentials needed. When despite all of the loving attention showered on these children, one particularly needy child/family succombs to the social distress of need and the ensuing family suicide sparks the director and his staff to fully commit to the ideals they have been tempted to abandon. The result is an ingenious one that involves students, teachers, parents and neighborhood in a celebration to conquer the grief that threatened to destroy the school's mission. With a cast as sensitive as any ever assembled (including some of the most endearing small children ever photographed!), this movie strikes a blow at governmental insensitivity to the plight of the poor while genuinely and without maudlin overtones demonstrating the difference committed educators make. There are enough side stories of love interest and incidents to prevent this potentially heavy-handed topic from becoming burdensome: preachy it is not. The message comes from the heart and because of the tender understatement of the director's technique, IT ALL STARTS TODAY becomes part of your heart and your belief in the potential goodness of mankind. The film is in French with easily readable English subtitles and the DVD gives biographies on the main people involved in the creation of the project that help flesh out the reasons for making the movie.I cannot urge you strongly enough to PLEASE see this film."
A tribute to the courage and commitment of teachers
Howard Schumann | Vancouver, B.C. | 03/20/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Daniel Lefebvre (Philippe Torreton) is teacher and director of the école maternelle, a pre-school open to children ages 2 to 6 in northern France. In Bernard Tavernier's deeply moving film, It All Starts Today, the children are the stars. Their faces and loving smiles shine through the grimness of their circumstances. Based on the notebooks of Tavernier's son-in-law Dominique Sampiero, a provincial teacher, the film is about the difficulties and challenges of children but is also a tribute to the courage and commitment of teachers. Lefebvre is a poet whose voice-over narration adds a touching lyricism to the film. "We'll tell our children it was hard", he writes. "Piles of stones placed one by one. We'll tell the children it was hard but their fathers are lords and this is their legacy. A pile of stones and the courage to lift them".

The school is in a town that has been hit hard by the closure of the coalmine, and where unemployment has reached 34 percent. Lefebvre is a gentle and compassionate teacher but a tough administrator who tries to shake the political bureaucracy into providing adequate programs for the school. He protests loudly against budget cuts and insensitive government regulations and the shortage of trained professionals. Lefebvre shows anger and frustration in the scene where he slams the door in the face of a visiting social worker, and when he storms into the Mayor's office to rail against cutbacks in the school lunch program. He is hardest on himself, however, when tragedy befalls an alcoholic mother and her family, and when his common-law wife Valeria's (Maria Pitteresi) young son Remi (Lambert Marchal) gets into trouble, challenging his commitment to return to the school the following year.

The problems of the school are severe but not exaggerated. Being the husband of a pre-school teacher I know the kinds of circumstances that parents and teachers face every day and they are not that different from those shown in the film. Tavernier does not idealize the poor or romanticize their circumstances but shows us conditions as they exist. This is a message film and we do get the message, but it doesn't seem preachy because it comes from a passion that springs naturally from the lives of the characters. But the magic of the film lies in the children themselves. There is no acting or interpretation. The camera zooms around the school with lightning speed catching the spontaneity of the children singing, dancing, talking, playing, and just being themselves. It All Starts Today does not offer any simple solutions and can be dark, but, at the end, when each child comes up to the camera for a final smile I felt only lightness and joy. Being around children and adults with courage will do that."