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Adolescents

Country: France, Language: French, 135 mins

  • Director: Sébastien Lifshitz
  • Writer: Sébastien Lifshitz
  • Producer: Muriel Meynard

CGiii Comment

A sprawling documentary, filmed over 5 years..and, at a hefty 135 minutes long, still manages to hold your interest right up to the end. Why? 

Because...of the unexpected surprises. There have been many 'experiments' filming kids as they grow into adulthood. It's always a risk...because, the filmmaker sets out with absolutely no idea of what's going to happen...and, sometimes, like here, it's a risk worth taking.

These adolescents are separated by class...but, united in friendship and school. If anything, this is a mighty fine advertisement for education...because, it clearly shows that - despite fanciful ambition - education really does offer a way to climb out of the rut that some find themselves in through no fault of their own. For some [kids], their [given] circumstances are a gift or they are a burden.

Emma has been gifted...allowing her to be fanciful and high maintenance. In a few years...hopefully, she'll watch this and deliver all the appropriate apologies for being 'difficult' - there are a few other words to describe her...but, hey, most teenagers are self-centred little brats...the wealthy ones, even more so. But, as she finds out, privilege can get you so far...the rest is up to you!

Anaïs, on the other hand, has been burdened. But...that burden has made her grow faster...and, more resolute. Her young life has been 'realistic' and she has placed that realism at the core to her future. She has no fanciful ambition...just pragmatism and grabs her 'way out' ticket with both hands, a smile and a slight ache in her heart.

It's just a fascinating, engaging film that leaves you hopeful for [both] their futures...and, it captures - rather beautifully - that bitterest/sweetest moment when it's time to leave the nest. Wow...it sure does resonate!


Trailer...

The(ir) Blurb...

Emma and Anaïs are best friends and yet everything in their life seems to set them apart, their social backgrounds but also their personalities. From the age of thirteen to eighteen, Adolescentes follows the two teenagers during these years where radical transformations and first times punctuate daily life. Through their personal stories, the film offers a rare portrait of France and its recent history.