Children of the Princess of Cleves
In a refreshing and inspired look at the lives of contemporary youth, director Régis Sauder attempts to make that elusive connection between classic literature and contemporary teenage life through the authentic voices and emotions of one Marseille high school class studying the 17th century French novel La princesse de Clèves. A tale of love and duty in the 16th century court of King Henri II, this classic text has been taught in French classrooms for decades. But Sauder gives it a new spin, juxtaposing its narrative with the lives of the students themselves, a diverse population of teens from predominantly working-class and immigrant families. As they gradually begin the stressful preparation for their baccalaureate exams, the students recite assorted passages from the book and speak candidly about their hopes and dreams, love and heartbreak, family and friends and their own place in today’s French society.