In “Pas de vague”, François Civil plays a young teacher facing the pack


We are never betrayed better than by our own. From this adage, Teddy Lussi-Modeste – from the community of travelers, graduate of Fémis, French teacher – weaves a work. After Jimmy Rivière (2011) and The Price of Success (2017) – in which the original environments of two young people asserting their individuality cruelly turned against them – he draws inspiration, in Pas de vaguees , from his experience as a teacher in Aubervilliers (Seine-Saint-Denis), which led to him being wrongly accused of sexual harassment by a 13-year-old student.

The film has the effectiveness and intensity of a damning demonstration of the dysfunctions of the educational institution. The exhibition is in three acts. During the first, Julien (François Civil), a young enthusiastic and ambitious professor, teaches Ronsard to his students and, to explain the figure of asteism, which consists of praising a person while pretending to blame them, addresses thus to young Leslie (Tuscany Duquesne): “You look beautiful today Leslie… You don’t think you’re exaggerating with such beauty? »

First mistake. The second consists of inviting some good students, including Leslie, to lunch at the local fast-food restaurant, which is bound to be misinterpreted. The third is to have considered that his private life was his own business and not to have made his homosexuality public. Sufficient cocktail, in all appearances, to deduce the perversity of her nature and trigger a wave of collective hostility against her, once Leslie, a silent and opaque young girl, has publicly made it known that the teacher has made gestures towards her displaced.

Violence and social networks

The development proceeds from a crescendo of victimhood – the young girl’s psychopathic brother, pack effect in the class, emulsion of social networks, refusal of the police to register her complaint, parents of students mobilized, versatile colleagues – which may seem charge. Especially since this highlighting of the victim finds few equivalents in the character of his accuser, the reasons and the person of the young storyteller remaining a mystery about which we will never have the first word.

At least the film reveals, as far as we can judge, a particular acuity when it comes to showing how the educational institution, supposed to provide the teacher at least the conditions for a fair defense, fails to support it as the violence becomes more threatening for the security of the establishment.

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