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IDFA - The Graduation

The rigorous selection procedure for new students at the prestigious Parisian film school La Fémis sparks heated exchanges among the examiners.

Director Claire Simon captures the selection process for students at the famous Parisian film school La Fémis, showing us how successful candidates get to follow in the footsteps of such luminaries as Louis Malle, François Ozon en Alain Resnais, all of whom attended this prestigious institution. At the start of the exhaustive procedure, hundreds of students gather together in a gigantic auditorium for a three-hour writing session. Ultimately, after three rounds, just a tiny fraction of applicants will be admitted to the school – the ruthless culling leads to heated exchanges among the many examiners, all of whom are experienced film professionals.

Simon devotes plenty of time to the discussions and assessments, which go into great detail about the skills and character of the future elite of the French film world. Stumbling over their words, the often-nervous candidates seem vulnerable when confronted with the veterans of the industry, who have the difficult task of discovering true talent among all these eager young people.