A True Masterwork
Next to UMBERTO D - this is my favourite movie of all time.
Using non-actors only works if you have a really good director. If done right non-actors can achieve a natural quality that cannot be "acted". There are lots of examples of this in this movie. The young pupils reaction to having her diary read by another to the class. The young teachers inability to express herself when interviewed first on TV.
The film was very succesfull in Europe and Asia - but most American critics did not bite. Even the Leonard Maltin TV Guide, which usually triumphs such films, gives it a very negative review. Maybe the passage of time will allow it to be discovered by a wider audience.
Be advised this is as emotionally devastating movie as you will find - so be prepared to feel drained by the end.
"Don't laugh! This ain't reality TV!