Filmmaker Michel Gondry turns from the playful semi-surrealism of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
and The Science of Sleep
to the personal story of a beloved family member in this documentary. Suzette Gondry is Michel's aunt and a retired schoolteacher; she educated children in rural communities in France from 1952 to 1986. While Suzette was committed to the education of all her students, she was a particularly close with one in particular -- her son, Jean-Yves
, with whom she's had a loving but sometimes combative relationship. Michel accompanies Suzette on a journey in which she visits the many schools where she taught -- or the sites where those schools once stood -- and speaks of her experiences. She also meets some of her former students, and it's clear they recall Suzette as a woman with a kind heart but a strong will, and her determination earned her the enmity of a few of her charges. L'Epine dans le Coeur
(aka The Thorn in the Heart
) was an official selection at the 2009 BFI London Film Festival.