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Nous, princesses de Clèves (2011)

Has 1558 anything in common with 2009 ? Have nobles of King Henri III's court anything to do with today's young people from poor neighborhoods, most of whom immigrants'children ? Is there ... See full summary »

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Abou Achoumi ...
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Laura Badrane ...
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Morgane Badrane ...
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Manel Boulaabi ...
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Virginie Da Vega ...
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Thérèse Demarque ...
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Anaïs Di Gregorio ...
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Armelle Diakese ...
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Chakirina El Arrif ...
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Gwenaëlle Le Dantec ...
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Mona M'Tira ...
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Cadiatou N'Diaye ...
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Albert Nicosia ...
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Aurore Pastor ...
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Sarah Rashid ...
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Has 1558 anything in common with 2009 ? Have nobles of King Henri III's court anything to do with today's young people from poor neighborhoods, most of whom immigrants'children ? Is there any connection between he refined language spoken by sixteenth century courtiers and the foulmouthed way inner city kids are supposed to express themselves in the early twenty-first century? Well, more than it looks at fist sight, as "Nous, Princesses de Clèves" brilliantly demonstrates... Written by Guy Bellinger

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30 March 2011 (France)  »

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Children of the Princess of Cleves  »

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Sixty hours were filmed and were reduced to 69 minutes after eight months in the cutting-room. See more »

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An exciting pedagogical experience; A brilliant documentary.
15 July 2011 | by See all my reviews

What is the aim of education: stooping to the level of some segments of the population considered inferior not to lose them or to raise the students' level of achievement and give the "segments of population considered inferior" the opportunity to find a better place in society? Is the solution chosen by French President Nicolas Sarkozy ( replacing only one out of two teachers going on retirement, increasing the number of pupils per class, making fun of classical studies -symbolized by "La Princesse de Clèves" - presented as irrelevant to the present times) the right one ? In other words, should a country opt for the lowest common denominator of prevailing mediocrity as a basis for the national curriculum or have high ambitions for its youth ? As of the first images of his excellent documentary "Nous, princesses de Clèves" the party its director Régis Sauder sides with is obvious, that of excellence and raised opportunities. His approach is simple and can be summarized the following way: if Nicolas Sarkozy thinks that Madame La Fayette's 1678 novel is of no interest for today's students, let's prove to him how wrong he is: let's film a pedagogical experience conducted by Anne Tesson (a French teacher, also Sauder's life companion) in a Marseille ghetto high school and let's see what happens... Normally, the students (in this case in their final or second to last year of high school) should shrink back in horror from the theme (a repressed love story between a married princess of King Henri III's court and a young noble man) and from the old-fashioned language in which the writer expresses herself. And it is true that these youngsters live in a disadvantaged neighborhood - and not in a luxurious palace ; that they speak some kind of colorful pig-Latin and not the refined but colorless French used by Madame de la Fayette. However, after a few easily understandable reservations, the young volunteers - most of whom the sons and daughters of immigrants - are rapidly caught up in the game, showing interest in the text, playing scenes from the book, taking them up, discovering that the feelings of love and passion of yore echo their current own, that the moral choices the characters are confronted with are the same as theirs (a girl for instance hes been driven to choose between her boyfriend and her grandmother she adores but who rejects their union). All we can hope is that Nicolas Sarkozy (never mentioned but ever present behind the whole project) has seen the film and been able to realize that not all the ghetto people are violent morons, that a great deal of them are sensitive and engaging human beings, worthy of respect.. "Nous, Princesses de Clèves" is one of the best documentaries released lately and a precious complement to Abdellatif Kechiche 's 2003 "L'esquive", which tackled the same theme and with the same talent but in the field of fiction. A top-rate film experience, in which belief in man comes first. The only defect "Nous, princesses de Clèves" really suffers from is its length : it is too short. Only 79 minutes... how frustrating!


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