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The Competition

Claire Simon
France, 2017
Production : Andolfi, Mouvement



From its Open Day through every step of the selection process, this is the account of the competition to get into La Femis, France’s prestigious film school. The candidates and the professionals who make up the various juries meet during the array of tests that bring together young people desperate to make films and attend the famous school, and a generation of professionals who must choose their heirs.

Tënk's film review

It’s fantastic to be able to inaugurate Tënk’s new weekly category devoted to auteur documentaries released in cinemas with this movie by Claire Simon about the famous film school La Femis. But appearances can be misleading… we’d be wrong to think that this is a film about filmmaking (and nothing in the title suggests it). Simon examines the competitive dimension, the selection process of a prestigious institution and what it reveals about reproducing elites. Obviously, we meet some endearing candidates, but the film is less about understanding their desire to become filmmakers than seeing them confronted with competition and the professionals who judge them. And very soon, we find ourselves examining the examiners as we witness the fragility of their decisions, their qualities and their weaknesses, and their judgment that’s sometimes blinded by an emotional dimension. Although the film is not where we expected it to be, it confirms, if confirmation is needed, the qualities of a true filmmaker’s vision.

Jean-Marie Barbe
Producer, Editorial Coordinator of Tënk and Co-founder of the États Généraux du Film Documentaire de Lussas

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Claire Simon

Born in London, Claire Simon started out by making independent short films. She then discovered the art of direct cinema with the Ateliers Varan and made several documentaries such as “Coûte que coûte” (1995) and “Récréations” (1998), which won various awards. She has written and directed three feature-length dramas presented at the Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes: “Sinon oui” (1997), “Ça brûle” (2005), and “Les Bureaux de dieu” (2008). Among her more recent films are “Gare du Nord” (fiction, 2013), which premiered at the Locarno Film Festival, “Le bois dont les rêves sont faits” (2016), “Le Concours” (2017), which won the best cinema documentary at the Venice Biennale in 2016, and “Premières solitudes” (2018), presented at the Berlinale Forum. Her latest work, “Le Village” is a long-term documentary series of 20x26mn films.

Other films in the collection: Silver Screen