Over a thousand young aspiring filmmakers rush through the doors of one of the world’s most prestigious film schools, ready to take the very first test of a long series for the entrance exam. For most applicants, there won’t be a second step nor a third, as only a handful of students get lucky enough each year to call La Fémis home. Dreams of cinema, success, hopes, disappointment, judgement — it is the jury members as much as the candidates being closely analysed in this cinéma vérité-style documentary.
Filmmaker Claire Simon observes with empathy, humour and a bit of malice, while the audience assists the jury decisions and discussions that usually happen behind closed doors. Uncovering how the school operates, the film also points out how contemporary societies are too often based on competition, all egalitarian, but only the best…
This fascinating look into the French meritocratic education system takes the audience behind the scenes to observe the mechanics of decision making, and introduces a surprising array of students competing to pursue their dream.
“He did that well!” comments one teacher after watching an applicant’s screen test. “I was falling asleep”, argues another. “Help! Don’t come to La Fémis! Get a life!” sneers a professor to her colleague… The great variety of applicants profiled is as thrilling for the jury as it is for the film’s audience.