Director: Yves Yersin
Cast: Gilbert Hirschi and the students of Derrière-Pertuis school
Country: Switzerland, 2012
Duration: 117 minutes
Renowned Swiss cinema legend, Yves Yersin, returns to the international cinema scene after 34 years absence with the beautiful film Blackboard.
The inter-municipal school of Derrière-Pertuis is on a ridge of the Jura mountain range bordering Val-de-Ruz in the canton of Neuchâtel. Located at an altitude of over 1000 metres, in a hamlet where there are only five houses, it is in the centre of a region its inhabitants call ‘The Mountain’. In this enduring landscape, Yersin and his crew chronicle the life of its local school during one year. Blackboard focuses on the pupils – aged between 6 and 12 – who share the same class, along with their successes and failures.
Their teacher, Gilbert Hirschi, has been teaching at the school for 41 years – or three generations. His teaching style combines theory with interactive learning. The young children study everything from the Napoleonic Wars to the concept of hydraulic engineering to traditional Swiss cheese-making methods.
Blackboard is a charming portrait of the power of education and a child’s thirst for learning. But just around the corner from all the happiness and smiles, lies something that will ultimately jeopardize the future of the school…