La Journée de la Jupe (Berlinale 2009)

I am aware of the fact that my Berlinale reviews are way overdue. I am also aware of the fact that I don’t care. So, for those who dig achronicity and who are just dying to read a review about skirts and a Swiss mountain village… allow me to make your day. So coming now and later: my Berlinale 2008 double review! Because I only went to see two movies and I don’t have that much to say about them!

Today: La Journée de la jupe!

If you only have time and money for two movies and given there are hundreds of movies to choose from, what do you do? You just choose two movies that seem vaguely familiar yet entirely different, and you go for it without thinking. For La Journée de la jupe, this might have just been the best random luck ever. We got a nice movie with some cool twists and a wonderful, wonderful actress: Isabelle Adjani.

The plot – the thing that attracted me to the movie – is as follows: Sonia teaches French at a public school. Her class is completely out of control: they don’t listen, they are loud, they threaten her… when one day she finds a gun in one her pupil’s bag, she is suddenly holding a group of them hostage.

What I loved about this movie, is how it tackles a very serious educational problem (the so-called black schools and white schools – the names have nothing to do with cultural roots of the pupils, even though the end results do) on different levels. There is mystery. There is suspense. There is drama. There are emotions. There are humour. Someone (Jean-Paul Lilienfeld) feels the same way about drama I do: humour is a great way of getting a dramatic point accross. It certainly worked in this movie, which at times bordered the downright absurd but was still credible.

This has a lot to do with the great acting work – not just by the female lead, but also by all the (unknown) teen actors. They delivered their lines in wonderful banlieue French – French I cannot understand for the life of me but which made the whole experience very immersive. Other than the teens, there was Denis Podalydès, who was funny and dramatic at the same time.

In all, I really loved this movie. It’s basically everything I stand for in a movie, and something more which I’m starting to stand for now. These guys knew what they were doing. It’s worth every second of your time.