Avoiding the clichés of the teen film, Maurice Pialat directs a minutely observed, uncommonly honest profile of disaffected French youth in a northern provincial city.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2006
Avoiding the clichés of the teen film, Pialat’s Graduate First is a minutely observed, uncommonly honest profile of disaffected French youth in a northern provincial city. The film follows the aimless adventures of a group of students who see little point in finishing their baccalauréat when the future promises nothing but dead-end jobs or grinding unemployment. Instead, they drift from bistro to beach, engage in sex, bicker with their uncomprehending parents or set out for Paris. The film’s ironic title references the stereotypical response of the French parent to a child’s request for more freedom: ‘Graduate first!’ This slice-of-life portrait of adolescent boredom and sexuality in the French provinces anticipates later works such as Bruno Dumont’s La vie de Jésus, Erick Zonca’s The Dreamlife of Angels and Olivier Assayas’ L’eau froide.
“Pialat makes you feel the leaden weight of adolescence – and the reprieve offered by the libido.” — Katherine Dieckman, Village Voice