FFF18 The School of Life27th February, 2018
Filmmaker Nicolas Vanier (director Belle and Sebastian 2013; see Belle and Sebastian 3 in this year’s Festival) borrows from his own childhood experiences growing up in Sologne to inform The School of Life – a gratifying, feel-good story about a boy whose miserable existence in a Parisian orphanage is changed forever when he is taken to live in
rural France. Paul (Jean Scandel) has only ever known the dark, prisonlike
world of high walls, fear and melancholy of the orphanage in which he lives. When entrusted to the care of Célestine (Valérie Karsenti) and Borel (Éric Elmosnino, The Bélier Family, AF FFF2015) Paul is whisked away to leafy
forests, misty ponds and vast fields of Count de la Fresnaye for whom Célestine and Borel work. When he befriends an eccentric poacher, Totoche (François Cluzet, The Intouchables, 2011), Paul learns about life, the
many secrets of the Count’s mysterious forests and that his coming to Sologne was more than just pure chance. Breathtakingly photographed, Vanier’s film is a loving child’s-eye ode to the beauty of the natural world – and what it can teach us about life and death – that cannot help but make everyone who sees it smile.