Hélène Angel is back after a long absence with a fourth feature film that revives the social realism of his early films. PRIMARY is first of all an ode to the educators, to smugglers and everyday heroes.

The opening shots of the film show Florence in the process of learning to read to a student in support. The girl feels void, but Florence will not loose nothing, continues, perseveres, convinced that the latter is going to get there. As Florence believes in its students above all. The big round eyes of Sara Forestier (always as wildly energetic and deeply moving) is enough alone to draw his character, voluntary, generous, and empathetic. She is a school teacher dedicated and student-only his son, Denis, also a student of his class. She lives within the school in the accommodation provided for the staff as the director (Patrick Assumçao) which is none other than its neighbor. Needless to say, she lives, breathes, thinks the school all day. It is this that accuses him of his son, who dream only of one thing, to join his father in Indonesia. When she discovers the difficult situation of Sacha, a student of her colleague, she invests herself fully to try to find solutions and face the hostility of all, ends by losing itself.

Hélène Angel is filming the class with a realistic quasi-documentary, which is surely the greatest strength of the film beyond the scenario affecting. With his cinematographer (Yves Angelo), they have decided to shoot with two cameras, one fixed, the other rail to “go find the child” and allow the filming to take place without interfering with the natural, without, however, opt for a filming at the shoulder. Hélène Angel manages to tell us about the career path of Florence, a true heroin anonymous of everyday life, immersing us in the realities of a job in lack of recognition.

It follows all the steps, the class councils, the meetings of canteen, by way of the classes and preparations of end of year show with the desire to stick to a unknown reality (the filmmaker has spent two years in classes for better understanding of this profession). This is where the film becomes the most beautiful, when he paid tribute to the investment of all these people dedicated to a task as noble and complex : to raise our children (to the top). Far from asserting, supporting roles (the director, the assistant education of the student with autism, colleagues, children…) are particularly well-written.

“A beautiful portrait of a modern woman faced with the issues of education. “

But PRIMARY of course, is not a documentary, and the history of Florence is also the thread of this story of initiation which proves that we continue to learn about self to each and every age of life. Trying desperately to save Ash, Florence finds himself facing his own demons. She does not tolerate that the adults throw up their arms and disempowering by appeal to other authorities (social services). She does not tolerate that the mother of Sacha, Christina, abandons her child alone in her home. She goes up to the meet in the luxury boutique, where she works for the sermonizing.

Beyond all of the archetypes of social, Christina (Laure Calamy that there has been more mother to REMAIN VERTICAL d’Alain Guiraudie) is first of all a woman who claims to be a woman before being a mother, even if it means abandoning his own son. The inverse of Florence so that it is easy to forget a little bit and which the world collapses suddenly when his son was opposed to it with virulence, or when Mathieu, the former the mother of Sacha (Vincent Elbaz) and send him a picture of her as being unable to invest his own person outside of the school walls. Nothing has therefore a meaning for it and it is at this time that it is inspected. The scene is great, Sara Forestier is a book for children, with a sincerity which nails instead of responding to the expectations of conventional.


Hélène Angel to deliver us with a PRIMARY a very beautiful portrait of a modern woman faced with the issues of education, loneliness, self-realization in a society that is increasingly demanding and, sometimes exclusionary, as demonstrated by this scene where the colleagues of the school ironisent them on the new reform thinking by people who know nothing of the reality on the ground, it is enough to have been a teacher to understand it…). Sara Forestier embodies Florence with a contagious energy and is wonderful in mother-courage. A very beautiful film to start the new year under the sign of hope.

Anne Laure Farges

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