Chris Knipp Writing: Movies, Politics, Art


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PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2020 12:41 pm 
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NEW FRENCH SHORTS
CECIIA DE ARCE: MARDI DE 8 À 18 (2019)

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RIME NAHMANI IN MARDI DE 8 À 8

You can't win at a dead-end job

Mardi de 8 à 18, set in a French middle school, feels like an episode from a TV series. It revolves around Névine (Rime Nahmani), a paid monitor who is sympathetic but a bit pathetic, and Logan (Hicham Talib), a problem student she's tried to take under her wing. Névine takes the kids' side in everything. She becomes desperate to help Logan after, in her softhearted way, she gives him a cap from the lost and found because he begs for it, and then its owner fights him to get it back, resulting in a bagarre likely to get Logan expelled. Névine's attempt to take the blame for Logan's bagarre is unsuccessful.

The other school faculty, administration, and staff are uniformly mean, and the plot therefore lacks nuance, though nuance is admittedly hard to achieve in such an unruly environment. The writing ought to have given Névine a little more toughness and not made the principal quite such a frigid baddy. Then the complexities of school life would have survived even treatment in this format. The point has been clearly made: Névine has a thankless job, and an angry kid from the banlieue has only a slim chance of becoming a pastry chef.

Illustrates social inequality in France, perhaps the irreparable decline of a once proud and beautifully structured educational system.

Mardi de 8 à 18 (Tues. from 8 to 6), 26 mins., debuted at Cannes' International Critics Week 2019 where it was nominated for the Canal+ Short Film Grand Prize and the Leitz Ciné Discovery Prize.

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©Chris Knipp. Blog: http://chrisknipp.blogspot.com/.


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