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Tous à la manif (1994)

A few high school students are organizing a demonstration in the bar where Serge is working as a waiter for his father. He tries to join in...



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Credited cast:
Maximilen Baglieri
Sarah Baglieri
Alexandre Belloy
Sandra Bento
Antonin Bernard
John Bertin
Cécile Beynard
Michel Brun
Peggy Consorty
Guillaume Couderc
Kris da Silva
Raphaël Delhomme
Sébastien Dewolf
Virginie Duflos
Nicolas Garriga ...
Nicolas - le patron du café


In a small café across their high school a group of striking students meet for hours in order to organize a demonstration. In what has become their headquarter they are served by an apprentice waiter of their age, Serge, who also happens to be the owner's son. Serge, although as shy as a fawn, gets slowly caught up in the "revolutionary" atmosphere and ends up challenging his loving but conservative and patronizing father. Is a new Che Guevara born? Written by Guy Bellinger

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Release Date:

1994 (France)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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French visa # 84401. See more »

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User Reviews

Departure from Ithaca
22 February 2015 | by (Montigny-lès-Metz, France) – See all my reviews

" Return to Ithaca ", Laurent Cantet's last film to date is about the lost illusions of a group of Cubans who once believed in Revolution and in a fairer society. Back in 1994, that is exactly twenty years before, Cantet, fresh from graduating from the FEMIS film school, shot his first film, a short titled " Tous à la manif " (Come One, All To The March!). And what do you find in this first film ? A group of intellectuals (just like in " Ithaca") ; and among the members of the two groups, a blue collar (Serge, the young waiter in the short and Aldo, a factory worker in the feature) ; idealism (the high school students of " Tous à la manif " strike and demonstrate to prevent the French educational system from deteriorating while the Cuban friends once wished to make their country an egalitarian place). The major difference is that in two decades the world has turned and has become even more unjust and ruthless. Cantet, himself, twenty years older, has become more disenchanted, although the gap between who he was in '94 and who he is now is a little less abysmal than the disillusion experienced by the Cubans of " Ithaca ", his own vision of the 1994 student protest being far from beatific. For if the director does feel sympathy for his characters, the way he depicts them is not without irony (the three girls more interested about the experience of sex one of them has just gone through than in the cause they are supposed to defend ; one of leaders of the movement stating that he goes on strike because everybody else does and rejoicing over the holidays the strike is synonymous with). What would these students say to each other of they met again in 2015, this could be for Cantet the subject if another "Return to Ithaca", French-made this time. Be it as it may, the thematic continuity is undeniable and putting the two films in perspective is a plus. A plus but not a necessity as "Tous à la manif" stands alone very well.

What is fine about this short is that it is played by amateurs the director has managed to make natural despite the camera : as a matter of fact, it does not suffice that the protagonists are genuine high school students in real life, you must BELIEVE THEY ARE in the fiction. And YOU DO, not such an easy thing to accomplish. Another good point of his short, besides being a testimony of its time, is that it avoids the boredom militant films often generate: there are slogans of course but the up in arms side is only part of a whole, more incarnate and more critical. The demonstration of the title is indeed not the central subject of the movie; it may even be considered as nothing more than a backdrop against which a more intimate "revolution" unfurls, the attempt by a teenager to emancipate himself from his father's tutelage. Will Serge manage to become a free man, able to choose his own way, is what is primarily at stake and constitutes the true suspense in Laurent Cantet's opus one.

You will certainly appreciate this portrait of France in the year 1994. Seen through the small end of the telescope of course but aren't some modest chronicles more telltale than a lot of phony epics? As for those who have seen " Return to Ithaca ", their pleasure will be doubled by the perspective on the two films and its common themes: idealism versus reality; idealism, a giant with feet of clay. Which does not spoil anything, does it?

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