Maybe the reason why white people have committed so many heinous acts and atrocities over history is because we've been trying to distract everyone else from how bloody boring we are. Strange to think this was '79 as I would almost have placed it half-a-decade earlier. Are there a disproportionate number of French films w/ men trying to fuck young girls? Watch 2nd half for the dandy ephebophiles and the young punk.
Small town teenage wildlife stuck in repetitious doldrums, yet with a great deal of shagging, so can it really have been that bad? Hmn. Throw in a couple of lecherous older men, and I guess it could. For all its claims to anomie, this slice of 70s life seems curiously innocent, charming and not at all as hopeless as the spirit crushing realities of today's technological dead hand.
Being a city dweller growing up, I always dreamed of being in one of these bumpkin crews, getting stoned by the beach. But the grass isn't greener on the other side. Pialat demonstrates that we're never happy with our lot, nor sure of our direction in life. We're just as quick to blame others than take the opportunities we have. It's a well acted film, so much so that I thought he'd directed these actors off guard.
A mix of mood piece and overview of that murky time between the raging moods of teenage years and the encroaching threat of adulthood, Graduate First is a messy delight from Maurice Pialat. I won't say I kept track of every character and every motivation, but it was easy enough to get swept up in the various emotions running throughout. Decent performances from the predominantly young cast also helped.
Think A Nous Amours, but with less family screaming, and more blue-collar as the charm of Sandrine Bonnaire is lacking. Post-school kids in mining village decide or fail to decide what's next for them in this depressing cinema verite account of how social custom and practice drags folk down. The only glimmer of hope lies with the two lads who are seen driving erratically towards Paris.
A little long and dispersed. Was it really this easy to get laid in the 70s? The view on the pointlessness of life is interesting though. I love the other commenter who think they really have something better than that. Not sure what the libidinous philosophy teacher character adds to the mix...
The 1979 model of the Western-world teenager was the first one that, as a seven year-old city-to-suburb transplant just landed on Long Island, I ever really noticed--which is to say, desperately wanted to BE. My babysitters and my friends' older siblings all looked just about exactly like Pialat's blank, bruised, beautiful ditherers, depicted here with pith, pity and generosity. Every generation is lost, oh la la.
Even if the events seem minor, Pialat always treats us as social beings willing to inquire, read between the lines and ultimately interact with the characters onscreen in order to follow the narration. Don't expect the man to feed you on a silver platter. Also, here are some of Pialat's funniest sequences.
Pialat's wonderful L'Enfance nue was about a difficult childhood and the lack of security, the sadness and bitterness experienced by it's main character, a young boy who has been abandoned by his mother. This time Pialat turns to that fragile and very complicated period of late teens/early adulthood and all the uncertainties, challenges and excitements that follow. It's a truly gifted director who's at work here!
"High Windows" translated to cinema. Somewhat of a precursor to the perilous maneuverings of Police, Pialat's youths lie and fuck and squander one another. They're all going down the long slide like free bloody birds [to happiness], and it's all just as familiar and out of reach as in Larkin's poem. Pialat has a go at those damn kids, but somewhere along the way the fist-shaking gets aimed at the deep blue air…