Mes Provinciales (A Paris Education)
If someone believes it is time that they receive a cultural education and life-changing experience, where do they go? The answer? Paris of course. The city of love opens doors to the mind and soul like no other destination (or at least that is what the general perception is). This is certainly the case in Jean-Paul Civeyrac’s latest picture, Mes Provinciales (A Paris Education). The French movie is the first release from the writer/director since 2014’s My Friend Victoria and is making its premiere appearance at Berlin Film Festival, where the anticipation is high for this arthouse piece.
Etienne (Andranic Manet) is an aspiring film student hailing from Lyon and is preparing to leave the countryside to study in Paris, building a new life for himself. Leaving family and relationships behind, Etienne fully immerses himself into his new life, acquainting himself with new friends and fellow students Jean-Noël (Gonzague Van Bervesselès) and Mathias (Corentin Fila), whilst also relentlessly pursuing a bohemian lifestyle and romantic encounters. In an environment littered with political conversations exploring the morality behind life, actions and the purpose of cinema, Etienne must navigate his way through a dense fog of naivety and intellect in order to create a film that he believes is his best work. However, he soon learns the Parisian life and his studies do not necessarily go hand in hand.
Shooting in black and white, Civeyrac appears to have chosen to impose a lens over the audience’s view to follow course with the art pop culture in which he has placed his characters. The movie is typically French in almost every construct, right down to Etienne’s raucous love life, which leaves modesty and integrity back in Lyon with girlfriend Lucie (Diane Rouxel). With classical themes running throughout the picture, including a soundtrack primarily focused on Bach, melodic piano and orchestral numbers, Mes Provinciales strips back the modern inconveniences of life, leaving the cast without the apparent distractions and implications that come with platforms such as social media, presenting instead the more carefree lifestyles of liberal students.
There is a lack of modernity to the movie that is slightly distracting to the audience as opposed to off-putting, but this matter proves only a minor inconvenience thanks to the quality of the effortless acting from all of the performers. The plot carries very little weight, but Manet, Van Bervesselès and Fila, to name a few, present the philosophical elements of the film in such an engaging manner that the content of their dialogue is unwearying on the viewer. Despite initial preconceptions, there are a significant voyage and message in A Paris Education that follow the main protagonist, and, thanks to such superb acting from the young cast, the length of the film, along with the ambiguous and suggestive ending, can be forgiven.
Mes Provinciales (A Paris Education) does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews from our Berlin Film Festival 2018 coverage here.
For further information about the event visit the Berlin Film Festival website here.
Watch the trailer for Mes Provinciales (A Paris Education) here: