Director: Stephane Brize

France • 2009 • 101 minutes

This delicate and exquisitely elegant tale of yearning sees construction worker and family man Jean (Vincent Lindon) shaken out of his torpor and vague dissatisfaction with his life when he meets his young son’s titular teacher (Sandrine Kiberlain, Lindon’s real-life former partner). She is a substitute teacher and former classical musician who never spends more than a year in any location, and has her own barely-masked yet unspoken sadness. Despite the contrasts between the two, they tentatively recognise something in each other, something which speaks of possibility, but against which they feel obliged to struggle, given the reality of their circumstances. This is a film of gesture and expression, of extreme subtlety and understated eroticism, made wholly credible by the two superbly nuanced performances at its heart.

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