The Little Mozarts

A moving documentary by Guillaume de Ginestel

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Program notes

The Guy Moquet Primary School in Nogent-sur-Marne, a suburb of Paris, is no ordinary school. For the last twenty years, all 400 pupils of diverse economic backgrounds have participated in a unique curriculum initiative: learning to play the violin. Their teacher Marie-Laure Paradis, who knows each student personally, introduces them all to a varied repertoire in preparation for their end-of-year concert. We follow five students over the course of an academic year, getting a glimpse of a public school where students and teachers listen to and respect one another, closely bonded by their shared artistic project—one that allows children in difficult situations to discover their latent potential and thrive.

Thanks to the violin and the kindness of the teaching staff, Lucas, deeply affected by his mother’s departure, regains a foothold in his studies. Armando, whose Romanian mother doesn’t speak French, begins to embrace his new culture. Martin overcomes his dyslexia, Nazad gains the confidence he’s lacked, and Lizzie finds a productive outlet for her boundless energy. The film follows the students and teachers in the lead-up to the year-end concert—the last one before Marie-Laure’s retirement, where her colleagues have prepared a surprise she won’t forget.

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