“The high school student”: director Christophe Honoré makes sentimental education remedy for death

The filmmaker features a teenager confronted with the death of his father, like a mirror of his own story.

by Jacques Mandelbaum

In the United States, this is called a “Coming of Age Story”, in France, a novel by training, of which Goethe fixed the Canon, in 1796, with the years of learning of Wilhelm Meister. An undented success welcomed the hectoliters of novels, then films, which have since sank in the genre, from the most tocards to the most felt. We always like to see, understand, feel what we inevitably failed to see, understand and feel when you have experienced it yourself. This end of rocking between childhood and maturity called adolescence, this insensitive and secret passage where we do not yet know that what we believe to have won is only the consciousness of our own loss. This is why adolescence is itself a loss, undoubtedly the most wonderful of all, in that it emancipates us by almost all that reason dictates to do and think.

The great privilege of creators who tried the genre is to be able, explicitly or not, to give form at this moment of their own life. A kind of second chance which is all refused to us, but where it is for them, formidable challenge, not to miss the evocation of such a distant yourself. With the high school student, Christophe Honoré found this complex alchemy which provides both naivety and depth, strength and fragility, specific to this passage. He owes it, of course, to his talent, but also to his young actor, Paul Kircher, who has, without force himself and to a supremely cinegenic degree, these virtues. Kircher or the meeting of Oliver Twist and Mick Jagger.

It all starts in the mountains, in the confusion of a post-traumatic story, stated in front of the camera by the main character, which will punctuate the whole film. A mother (Juliette Binoche) teacher; A father (Christophe Honoré) dental prosthetist. Lucas (Paul Kircher), their son, has just learned that he will now have to live without the latter. Ultimate memory of a stroll, darkly heralding, with him. By car on the road. The worried solicitude of the father, the laughing carefree of the son. Lots of reciprocal tenderness in tone, in looks. The father who suddenly confides in his own life, on the different choices that could have been his family if he had not let go to high school. And then, a sedan that doubles them without visibility, another car which leads to the front and which obliges him to fall back, forcing the father at the exit of the road. This protection gesture with the arm on his son’s chest, then bogged down in what is, luckily, a wasteland devoid of the slightest obstacle.

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/Media reports cited above.