Forever Young (Les Amandiers)
Valeria Bruni Tedeschi is not only a Cannes regular as an actress (last year she attended the festival with The Divide) – in 2007, Actresses, which she co-wrote and directed, won the Special Jury Prize of the Un Certain Regard section. At the 66th edition her third feature A Castle in Italy was nominated for the Palme d’Or. She is competing for it again this year with another film about acting, more specifically acting school.
For her entrance exam to the renowned Théâtre des Amandiers, Stella chooses to perform a scene from Sartre’s The Respectful Prostitute. Afterwards, she cries in the bathroom, but a fellow applicant assures her that feeling embarrassed means having done it right. Young actors from all across France compete for the 40 coveted workshop spots in the first round, of whom only 12 will advance. The students are all around the age of 19, but expected to be able to emotionally engage with material beyond their years in a snap of a finger. Especially with the sweet-tempered, slightly naive Stella, this environment – as inspiring as it can be – becomes a recipe for disaster.
While actors may have a natural penchant for drama, with three teen pregnancies, a sexual circle dance of interchangeable partners and an AIDS scare, Forever Young feels somewhat like all ten seasons of Beverly Hills, 90210 crammed into one film. The fact that not one, but both of their acting teachers consume drugs on school property and engage in unprofessional relationships with their students is the last straw to challenge the suspension of disbelief. Nevertheless for anyone flirting with the idea of this profession, the French production is a must-see.
Bruni Tedeschi, who studied at Patrice Chéreau’s acting school herself, taps into her own experience to show the hard work behind what so many people envision as a dream job, and doesn’t sugarcoat the almost pathological need for attention and affection at the heart of each entertainer.
Forever Young’s cast are equally sublime as their characters as they are in their characters’ performances. Both newcomer Sofiane Bennacer, who portrays the insufferable Étienne, as well as Nadia Tereszkiewicz, whose Stella is the heart and soul of the film, are shoo-ins for the Silver Palm for Best Acting.
Forever Young (Les Amandiers) does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews from our Cannes Film Festival 2022 coverage here.
For further information about the event visit the Cannes Film Festival website here.
Watch the trailer for Forever Young (Les Amandiers) here: