The Chorus is a new French film recently released on DVD with English subtitles. It tells the inspiring story of an unsuccessful composer, Clé¥nt Mathieu, who takes a job as a supervisor in a reform school for delinquent minors. When Mathieu realizes that the boys can sing derisive ditties, he organizes a chorus and uses his music to rehabilitate the boys’ troubled souls.
Mathieu’s nemesis is the headmaster Rachin, a sadistic disciplinarian who cynically dismisses the evident impact of Mathieu’s chorus on the boys, but uses it to push for his own promotion. Rachin does not hesitate to admit a sociopathic teenager to his school in order to oblige a well-connected psychiatrist interested in conducting a “test case.”
The contrast between the attitudes of Mathieu and Rachin toward the boys extends into their overall attitudes toward life. While Rachin grumbles that he never wanted to end up heading a reform school, Mathieu finds a new life for himself as the head of the chorus.
Sometime, a negative review can capture the essence of a movie with surprising accuracy. A review on Filmcritic.com describes The Chorus as: “An embarrassingly mushy story of an ordinary guy’s yeoman efforts to change the world.” Indeed, it is, and he does change the lives of the boys, one of whom goes on to become a world-renowned conductor.
The Chorus was nominated for the categories of Foreign Language Film and Music at this year’s Academy Award.