Five years with “Adolescentes”, the age of possibilities


Teenagers ***

by Sébastien Lifshitz

2:16 documentary

One is slim, with an angular face. The other is round, with baby features. Two teenage girls with a pretty face, in the same class at a college in Brive-la-Gaillarde, in Corrèze. Director Sébastien Lifshitz has chosen to follow them from the age of 13 until their majority, with the idea of “Take the time to accompany a long-term adolescence, in its passions, its doubts, its metamorphoses and also the pressures undergone”.

→ CHRONICLE. What do you mean by “adolescent”?

Five years of transformations and first times, on which the author casts a discreet and modest look, at the right distance. Without ever feeling intrusive, the viewer gets as close as possible to the emotions of those who savor the time of friendship, learn about love, discover loneliness, come up against their parents’ incomprehension.

Head full of dreams

Inseparable friends, Emma and Anaïs share laughter, getaways by the lake and fireworks on July 14th. They are barely 15 years old and have dreams in their heads. At home, the sometimes heavy daily life takes care of bringing them back to reality.

Coming from a working-class background, Anaïs grew up in a family weakened by the handicap of the mother and a little brother. Her role of caregiver is sometimes difficult to bear. Little inclined towards studies, she nevertheless obtained her patent and turned towards a professional field. This elder shows maturity when she decides to move away from her family, within the framework of a “young adult contract”, in order to be able to build her adult life, without cutting ties.

Emma lives in a wealthy environment. Father commercial director, rarely at home. Mother civil servant very present, too present even. Always on the back of her daughter, whose school work and artistic activities she follows. Gifted, the young girl combines dance, music and choir lessons. Unsurprisingly, it goes into general second. And dreams of studying cinema, why not in Paris.

A delicate and fair work

Shot over several years, 24 days a year and per session of two or three days, this documentary film follows their journey, punctuated by different stages such as birthdays and exam results but also by capturing moments of boredom or waiting. And even the unpredictable that breaks into everyday life: the 2015 attacks, the images of which we see through their eyes misted with tears.

→ INVESTIGATION. Effects of screens on our children: what do we really know?

Delicate and fair, Sébastien Lifshitz’s work allows us to accompany these young girls to the threshold of their adult life, to share their joys, their hopes and their melancholy. A nice moment of cinema that reminds us how much adolescence is, in the words of the author, “A continent both dark and sunny”.


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