The Chorus (2004) is one of the most heartwarming stories about a boarding school where through compassion and kindness one man gives the mistreated and abused children their voices back. Not only is the music heavenly, the compositions tell their own tale about the whole palette of human emotions. The children are catching you with their natural way of acting and would not let go because you become one with their storytelling. Monsieur Mathieu spreads his warmth throughout the movie, becoming a multi-facetted individual himself, always with the utmost respect for these children, keeping his grace to put his children's good before his own.
Surprisingly honest this movie shows how the educational systems of the past have taken advantage of children that were labelled difficult. The type of methods used to carve out any kind of rebellion against authority were ordinary back then and the destruction they had on the boys are so plain to see in their way of rebelling even more and taking no kind of responsibility for their actions or for one another. When M. Mathieu enters "action - reaction" as the primary educational method used, has nearly destroyed not only the students spirits but the staff's as well. Suffering under the ruthless principle who deals with his discontent of his own failures in life by letting it out onto the children under his care. He sees no match whatsoever in M. Mathieu and underestimates his abilities because he himself, even though he is principle and therefore in charge of the well-being of his staff and students, has no social competences at all. This comes to aid M. Mathieu in his attempts to connect to every pupil and comes to understand their individual needs, wishes and dreams. The most beautiful thing happens when he himself starts to be vulnerable and lets his passion come through - music changes the course of everyone involved, from the individual to the whole school itself.
Although the music deepens the bond between himself and his students, the first step for M. Mathieu was investing. He invested energy into himself, coming to terms that his love for music might not be heard around the world. Still he trusts his desire to compose for this boys, he makes peace with his disrupting dissatisfaction for being a failure in achieving the original career he dreamt of. He lets his inspiration come through and guide him. This developing of character should not be overlooked by the absolutely wonderful storytelling because the underlying wisdom is so precious to be recognized. Time and again when he struggles, he steadily works on himself and his perception of the world, makes the most out of it, comes to term with how things turn out, never losing sight of his joy - the choir and the inspiration for composing. Even when he has his hopes up because of being attracted to someone and was turned down, he still is determined to do what is best for his children, keeps on composing for them, seeing their wishes and trying his best to fulfilling them. He ist the most remarkable character, shining his light so bright that he made things within the school endurable, not only for the time being he resides there but in addition he really becomes the key figure why the staff takes action in the end by makin the methods of the principal known, leading to his imminent removal. As well as inspiring a new future within the school M. Mathieu changes the course of life for Pierre Morhange and little Pepinot.
Kindness and compassion are anchored deep within the character of M. Mathieu because even before he is shown gratitude by the students he stands up for them, gaining their respect and trust through a different approach than they originally would expect from authority. He protects them if he understands their motives, yet also disciplines them when clear boundaries have been overstepped. His ways of punishment then again show a higher motive, alsways benefitting the punished one instead of focusing on a sole attempt to subject them to authority. He orders them to care for their victims,gives them an opporunity to learn life lessons by showing them the consequences their actions have, even more what pain they might cause others. The amazing result is that compassion leads to kindness and deep caring for the feelings of others and their well being as well as a broader spectrum for the chain reaction caused by their act. He punishes Pierre Morhange to attend choir lessons although the boy refused to sing even though M. Mathieu heard him sing with dedication before. Ultimately impacting his whole life by presenting him with acknowledgement of talent and also the understanding for why he acts the way he does. M. Mathieu paves the way for his development, both personally and musically.
When Pepinot first appears within the story, right at the beginning, two minutes in, you can feel the warmth of his heart, kindness of his soul, even though he does not say much at all. But in that alone the loving persona of M. Mathieu shines through. Having an ending to the story that might seem far off normally might disturb the harmony of the whole tale, instead within this particular storyline it makes perfect sense and leaves the audience with a smile, a spark of hope for goodness within the world, within humanity. And that is exactly where inspiration comes in, where you relate to kindness and compassion even though you might think that you have no impact, you do not matter in the vast see of humans on this planet. With movies such as this one the heart jumps up and down in excitement because you want to do something for someone else now, you yourself do not matter as much after seeing this story but the greater picture steps into your attention: You are the light that needs to shine in order for others to be able to find their own.
Isn't this what it is all about? In the core, when born into this world, we all are love. So maybe the simplest and truest way of living is being that loving human being you are. No matter the odds, no matter who said you have to or not ought to be what you desire, whoever said you are not good enough or will never be enough at all, no matter who wanted to hold you down, punished you for creativity, originality or letting your essence come through - you are on this Earth to be you, no one else can be you.
M.Mathieu teaches therefore that no matter what anyone has ever said or will ever say about you, you yourself have to decide if you trust in yourself and let yourself shine, no one can take that power of insight away from you. And by having the courage to do so, empowering yourself, you will find the compassion and kindness to see that light in others as well. Maybe you will be the one to let them remember their own again.
Love and light, dearest souls, let it shine brightly!