The Graduation

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    The Graduation

    Le Concours

    Directed by



    119 min

    • French


    With THE GRADUATION the director will delve into the daily life of the Parisian cinema school, la Fémis, where a specific Republican ideal of excellence is practiced and entry into which can be summed up as follows: "everyone’s equal, but only the best get in…"

    Through the admission process, the hard work all year and the graduation exams, THE GRADUATION will establish a portrait of our relationship to excellence in the Art world and of one of the most prestigious art school in France. A place of culture where generations intermingle.


    • Best Documentary on Cinema - Venice IFF


    Director's Statement

    For students, the contest is a road to excellency, the door to a bright future. The only kind of future they are wishing for, with success and accomplishment. La Femis’ admission contest is reaching to the stars of cinema and art. Shooting a film about it is like remaking the Lumiere brothers short L’ARROSEUR ARROSE... I filmed filmmakers and cinema professionals usually unknown, choosing the next generation who will access this prestigious school. Along the years, when I managed the Film’s Direction Department at La Femis, I didn’t expect what was surrounding me as a film’s subject. Sometimes, being bored in a long meeting for instance, I would imagine those students right there being the contemporary version of Balzac or Proust characters, or the documentary version of Woody Allen or Arnaud Depleschin’s movies. I hope the film describes truthfully this fundamental moment where society, here represented by cinema professionals and corporations, choose its inheritors. And also how youth represents itself and gets accepted along the way, how they look to the future. In the old days, future depended upon a good marriage; today, failing a contest for some of them means failing in life.



    A film which was put together with warm simplicity and is utterly captivating.

    Fabien Lemercier, Cineuropa

    An insightful film school chronicle.

    Jordan Mintzer, The Hollywood Reporter

    La Concours (The Graduation) is able to aptly convey the passion and ambition of the prospective students in such an understated manner.

    Oliver Johnston, The Upcoming

    Claire Simon

    Claire Simon


    Born in London in 1955, Claire Simon has made several short films, including LA POLICE (1988) and SCENES DE MENAGE (1991). She has also directed documentaries such as LES PATIENTS (1989) and MIMI, which screened at Berlin IFF in 2003. In 1997 she made her first fiction feature, A FOREIGN BODY, which was selected for the Quinzaine des Réalisateurs in Cannes, as were her subsequent films CA BRULE (2006) and GOD'S OFFICES (2008). In 2013 HUMAN GEOGRAPHY and GARE DU NORD were both selected for Locarno. In 2015 she returned to Locarno with her feature documentary THE WOODS DREAMS ARE MADE OF. Her film THE GRADUATION (2016) was screened at various festivals and won the Best Documentary on Cinema at the Venice IFF.

    Selected Filmography