Speech: Les Misérables By Victor Hugo

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AETC- 2101



Les Misérables is a new project which will use the 19th century masterpiece by French humanist Victor Hugo as a magnifying glass to have a look at our 21st century society. I hereby invite you to join this journey of discovery; discovery of our modern world as well as self-discovery. I am here to share with you, but also to learn from you. Any fan of Victor Hugo, or any fan of Les Misérables as well as any social activist should definitely join this group. I am going to invite you to read or re-read the original novel. We'll read it together, at a slow pace.
In a moment I will tell you what is the raison d'être of this new project and the format it will take. But first, I would
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Set in 19th-century France, the film captures the drama and hardship of life during a time of revolutionary turmoil while providing a testament to the inner hero of man and his capacity to live as an embodiment of his values.
The film opens with the release of ex-convict Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) on parole from a nineteen-year prison sentence he suffered for stealing a loaf of bread and repeatedly attempting to escape. Valjean attempts to resume a normal life under the watchful eye of his nemesis, the rigid Inspector Javert (Russell Crowe). Valjean soon realizes that the only way he can be truly free is to violate his parole, disappear, assume a new identity, and begin his life anew.
In fleeing his parole, Valjean infuriates Inspector Javert, who vows never to rest until he has captured Valjean and administered “justice.” From this point on, Javert’s pursuit of Valjean dominates much of the story; however, numerous other story lines develop as well, the most important involving Valjean’s adoption of Cosette (Amanda Seyfried). Cosette’s mother, Fantine (Anne Hathaway), is thrown into abject poverty when a foreman at Valjean’s factory unjustly terminates her employment. Eventually Valjean learns of Fantine’s plight and vows to care for Cosette, whom he showers with
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At this point, viewers meet Marius, Enjolras, and their fellow student rebels who attempt to draw all of Paris—including Valjean and Cosette—into their stand against the injustices imposed by the monarchy.
In addition to its moving and engaging plot, Les Misérables offers beautifully performed solos and choral pieces throughout the film. This version of Les Misérables differs significantly from most other cinematic musicals because the director, Tom Hooper, chose to have all the actors sing their parts live—during filming—as opposed to prerecording the songs and having actors lip-sync their parts. Although this feature may not please all viewers, I found the result to be very powerful. My favorite solo was Anne Hathaway’s commanding rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream,” a performance that contributed to her first
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