School life: a film carried by young people from the neighborhood

Two years after “Patients” (2017), Grand Corps Malade and Mehdi Idir have done it again with “La Vie scolaire”. A film on neighborhood reality that the shock duo wrote and directed. Their bet to hire complete strangers from the city where they shot was a real winning bet.

The desire to stick to reality with Student services office

Grand Corps Malade and Mehdi Idir chose to set up the plot of Student services office. The reason ? Everything is built between our eleven and our fifteen years about: first flirtations, assertiveness, hard knocks too. And this, within the precincts of the college, but also outside. In real life, in other words. Grand Corps Malade entrusted to have, in the same way as his collaborator, adored this period. Mehdi Idir added:

It is a pivotal period that marked us a lot. But our memories date back to the 90s. We had to get back into the swing of things, go there to observe

School life ©Gaumont

Reason why the two men went directly to the heart of the city of Francs-Moisins in Saint-Denis. The filming location then became a place of recruitment for co-directors who have integrated more than two hundred people including a hundred children. Knowing that most of the young people of the city don’t go on vacation in the summer and don’t have much to do with their day, it was easy to make them want to join the filming of Student services office. In this regard, do not hesitate to read our top of the best films on school life.

Rewarding work for unknown faces

Out of five main characters, three are from the neighborhood, like all the extras. As the directors explained, it was very rewarding for the children to have been chosen. Become an actor with a salary instead of dragging the streets without doing anything gave real meaning to their lives. They felt useful and important, respected. Hence their desire to give everything that pierces the screen. After the success of patientsthe filmmakers did not actually want to call on stars to carry their project. Their desire to shoot with little-known actors was still as lively as ever.

On patients, despite the difficulty of financing a film without headliners, our producers Éric and Nicolas Altmayer, like Jean-Rachid, followed us. So we left on the same pattern with Student services office.

Samia Zibra (Zita Hanrot) in School Life
Samia Zibra (Zita Hanrot) in School Life ©Gaumont

To achieve the fairest possible game for children, it was in a classroom that Grand Corps Malade and Mehdi Idir rehearsed for two weeks. Both were curious to see how twenty-five students not from the cinema would act and interact. Everyone should feel confident. The actors also had to know their text at your fingertips while the extras had the role of making a mess. And it all had to sound the most natural in the world. Locking up a group of kids in a class during the summer holidays was a good ploy to illustrate student fatigue!

The group existed from the rehearsals. It’s the magic of kids. They are lively, intelligent, understand quickly, appropriate the text and take the role elsewhere. I don’t want to denigrate the work of the pros, but sometimes you have the feeling that certain actors understand what you expect and serve it to you. The kids are themselves.

School life: a film carried by young people from the neighborhood – CinéSéries