Les Choristes Director: Christophe Barratier Starring: Gerard Jugnot, Francois Berleand, Jean-Baptiste Maunier The film: Like Nuovo Cinema Paradiso, the film opens in a contemporary time and is dragged 50 years back on a homebound journey. Within minutes, we see a successful conductor (played by Jacques Perrin) transmute into an orphan (played with amazing depth by Jean-Baptiste Maunier). It's 1949, and unemployed music teacher Clement Mathieu (Gerard Jugnot - right) finds a job as a supervisor at Fond de L'Etang Internat, literally the Rock Bottom Boarding School. Mathieu counts himself lucky to find a post-war job, but he soon realises that he's just been handed the keys to a not-so-pastoral purgatory of lost boys. As one of the hardened staff describes a new ward: 'Face of an angel, spawn of the devil.' After being duly christened 'Baldy' by the boys, Mathieu decides to test whether music can tame the wildest beast. 'Never say never - something's always worth trying,' he tells himself - and so he proceeds to tame the little beasts of Rock Bottom. What transpires illustrates the redemptive powers of art. In three months, Mathieu turns a bunch of would-be cowboys, fighter-pilots, foreign-legion soldiers, spies and Napoleonic generals into an unlikely host of cherubim. The boys' unself-conscious acting is a revelation and a joy, and shows French cinema has a deep bench of thespians. Les Choristes is the first feature from Christophe Barratier (who's also a classical guitarist). His love of music gives the movie its reckless glow. Indeed, the real star is the music ... Little wonder that, on top of its best foreign film nomination at the Oscars this year (won by Spain's The Sea Inside), Les Choristes was also in the running for best song, thanks to Bruno Coulais' infectious central choral piece (the category was won by The Motorcycle Diaries). Coulais won best film music at this year's Cesar Awards - the French Oscars. Les Choristes: The Original Soundtrack is due to be released soon. The extras: The trailer and interviews with the director, cast and crew give an insight into the fun and fumblings behind the making of this movie. But they're not much use unless you understand French.