Skip to main content

TO BE AND TO HAVE

France, 2002 (MIFF 2002, Documentaries)

Director: Nicolas Philibert

To Be and to Have (in Official Selection at Cannes this year) follows an academic year in the lives of a dozen youngsters, aged 4-10, who are taught every subject, from math to gym, by one dedicated teacher. Any negative stereotypes viewers might harbour about education in rural communities are sent packing by this magnificently filmed and cumulatively touching account from veteran documaker Nicolas Philibert.

"The schoolhouse serving a village in France's Auvergne region is both cosy and modern, outfitted with a wood-burning fireplace and computers ... Philibert captures inner mindscapes being formed whatever the outer landscape dishes out. For a young country kid, learning to count can be as exotic an adventure as learning to milk a cow is for a city kid ... One boy's entire family watches him do multiplication tables in the kitchen and the very fact that everybody gets into the act is entertaining.

"The film reflects the sheer beauty of two professionals - a teacher teaching and a documaker documenting. Charting the passing seasons with a brief but eloquent sampling of vistas, Philibert communicates an indelible and slightly surreal sense of pace." - Variety

Nicolas Philibert (born in Nancy, France, 1951) has acted in, written and directed numerous films since the early 70s. As a director, his previous films include Louvre City (1990), Land of the Deaf (1993), Every Little Thing (1998) and Qui sait? (1999).

See also...

LA MAISON DE LA RADIO

"A film about radio is a little unnatural: how can you film radio without shattering its mystery?" - Director Nicolas Philibert ... One of the strengths of radio is surely how our reception of it ... More »

NENETTE

Six hundred thousand people have filed past her cage each year. Seven days a week, winter and summer. For 37 years. ... Humans are heard but never seen in this wry documentary that turns its focus ... More »

THE LAST LETTER

Legendary documentanan Frederick Wiseman directs Comedie-Francaise doyenne Cathenne Sarnie in her forceful, award-winning stage performance of Life and Fate, a recreation of a Russian Jewish doctor's ... More »

THE GLEANERS AND I: TWO YEARS LATER

Even if you haven't seen The Gleaners and I, no matter, as this new film begins with a brief overview of the original. Filmed between October 2001 and June 2002, this wonderful new film from Agnes ... More »

DE GUERRE LASSES

Sedma, Jasmina, Senada: three young village women. During the war in Bosnia in the mid-90s, their world fell apart. Their husbands disappeared, along with dozens of men from their families. Their ... More »

JOURNAL DE FRANCE

“A tribute to a masterful eye, a humanistic heart and a wondrous life.” - Variety ... Part travel diary, part retrospective, Journal de France trails acclaimed documentarian Raymond Depardon ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director