With LE CONCOURS the director will delve into the daily life of the Parisian cinema school, la Fémis, where a specific Republican ideal of excellence is practiced and entry into which can ... See full summary »
Mrs. Géquil is a teacher despised by her colleagues and students. On a stormy night, she is struck by lightning and faints. When she wakes up, she feels different. Will she be able to keep the powerful and dangerous Mrs. Hyde contained?
The second cycle of German auteur Edgar Reitz's 'Heimat' deals with a group of students in various artistic disciplines who spend their time Thinking Big Thoughts and Remaining True To Their Artistic Visions before real life forces them to grow up and face the necessity of compromise. It is also, for no good reason, filmed in black and white. However, while I loved 'Heimat', I am not so enthusiastic about the markedly similar 'A Paris Education' from writer-director Jean-Paul Civeyrac.
Student of philosophy (which in itself should be enough to set alarm bells ringing) Etienne leaves his native Lyon for Paris, where he is to study film. There he meets a number of other students, including Jean-Nöel, whose talents are more organisational than artistic; Valentina, who views life with a wry amusement; and Mathias, whose Olympic-level pretension annoys some of his fellows but fascinates all of them. There is also Annabelle, not a student but a full-time activist who works as little as possible because 'all work is exploitation'. In-between high-minded discussions about 'honesty in film' and suchlike, this merry band also ruminate on life in the big city (the original French title of this film is 'Mes provinciales').
I think the reason why I did not warm to this as much as I had hoped is that central character Etienne is quite dull: this may be due to actor Andranic Manet's portryal - neither his facial expression nor his tone of voice are particularly fluid - but it is as if the character has been created merely as a cipher around which the other, more interesting, characters can orbit. Fortunately these are played by some engaging actors: Corentin Fila (previously seen in the UK in teenage angst piece 'Being Seventeen') as Mathias and Jenna Thiam as the cheerful Valentina are particular stand-outs.
Seen at the 2018 London Film Festival.
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