E-mails and comments welcome from teachers and learners of all ages.  
September 30, 2004
To be and to have and to have not

Georges Lopez, the teacher and reality movie star whom I wrote about here and here, has lost his case against the makers of the movie he was the star of:

It was a moving portrayal of everyday life in the rural classroom, and became an huge and unexpected French cinema success when it was released in 2002.

And, as the star of the prizewinning documentary film, Etre et Avoir, Georges Lopez felt it was only fair that he should get a cut of the &euor;2m (£1.3m) profits.

The director disagreed, triggering an acrimonious lawsuit which has raised uncomfortable ethical questions about the exploitative nature of fly-on-the-wall film-making.

This week a Paris court ruled that the schoolteacher, who allowed his tiny one-class village school to be filmed in lessons and at play over the course of a year, had no grounds to demand a €250,000 (£170,000) payment.

This was essentially a contract argument. What was the deal? According to that deal, do the film makers owe Lopez any money? No, said the French court.

Lopez himself says that this is an intellectual property argument, which means that tomorrow, I may well be writing about this case in my weekly bit for here.

Personally I think Georges Lopez should have stayed away from the courts, and written a book about his life and his educational beliefs. And it need not have been a long book. That is, he should have turned the massive reputation that the movie bestowed upon him, into a river of cash. It would have sold a bomb, would definitely have been translated into English, and I would definitely have bought a copy. As it is, his saintly image has been hurt by his decidedly unimaginative behaviour. Now, he says, he is going to appeal.

Sad. Everyone knows you make nothing from the movie that makes you into a star. It is your next few ventures that make you your money, even if they flop. And in his case, who says they would flop?

It seems that there are quite a few things about the world and its ways that Monsieur Lopez has himself yet to learn. Yet one more proof of how brilliant people can be in one setting, and then how inept they can then be when they stray beyond that.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 12:20 AM
Category: MoviesPrimary schools

What a beautiful response. Having just watched the movie, i really believed George Lopez to be somewhat of a saint, the calmness, patience and caring love he radiated.
Its such a pity that now everybody's talking this lawsuit, and i am glad i didnt hear about it , before i watched the documentary.
I dont know what made mr. Lopez take this step, but like you said, he would have made much more money and , more important, could have upheld his saintly postue, if he had written a book about his methods.
On the other hand, the documentary maker has told in an interview that they had visited around 100 schools in the area before making a final decision to film at mr. lopez' school. So i guess there must be many more teachers like him who give themselves wholehartedly to their vocation and pupils.

Yours truly

rob sanders

Comment by: rob sanders on October 7, 2004 05:36 PM
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