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Les choristes

When his mother dies, world-class conductor Pierre Morhange (Jacques Perrin) returns home and is unexpectedly thrust into his past. The obstinate, young Morhange attends the "Rock Bottom" school for unruly boys, where he and his classmates suffer for their childish pranks at the hand of the heartless Principal Rachin (François Berléand). That is, until lonely, good-natured Clément Mathieu (Gérard Jugnot) arrives as their new supervisor. With a soft heart and keen awareness of his students' sufferings, Mathieu brings his own passion for music into the classroom to unveil the true hearts and minds of his motley, left-behind crew. Finally, above the dull grey of tattered sweaters and depressed hallways, rings the rich and fluid colour of song.

"I really wanted the role of the little soloist to be played by a real singer. As we toured France, listening to major children's choirs to pick the one for the film soundtrack, we discovered the young Jean-Baptiste Maunier, the soloist of a choir in Lyons. He has an exceptional and very moving voice. ... For the rest of the cast, I didn't want 'professional' child actors because I didn't want to fall into the trap of the 'trained seal' syndrome. We went looking for kids around the area where we were shooting, in the region of Auvergne. We culled children from elementary and junior high schools, and after auditioning over 2000 kids, I found enough 'natural actors' among them to complete the cast. At first, they all sang along to play-back recordings we had made with the choir in Lyons, but very quickly that was no longer necessary. Although they were all complete novices, they learned all the pieces by heart and sang them with unbelievable energy."
Christophe Barratier