Each year, hundreds of aspiring filmmakers from across France
congregate in an auditorium in Paris to take the first of three rounds of
the highly competitive admission exam to La Fémis, France’s leading
film school. In Le Concours, master documentarian Claire Simon
follows each step of the process, from that auditorium full of young
hopefuls gathered to write a sequence analysis that will serve as the
first test of their eligibility to the group photo of the forty candidates
ultimately selected. Along the way, Simon shows us the exam’s practical
stage— prospective directors direct a scene, screenwriters pitch
a story, designers show sketches—and the oral examinations in which
candidates having reached the final round face a jury of sometimes illustrious
professionals. As a former professor at La Fémis, Simon may
be an insider, but she pulls no punches. Indeed, while Le Concours is
full of suspense, comedy, and human drama, it is also a cutting work
of institutional ethnography: in capturing the juries’ deliberations,
Simon exposes the process of gatekeeping at an elite institution, one
that intrinsically favors those with certain sociocultural backgrounds,
leading to the extreme lack of diversity reflected in that group photo of
future students.

Claire Simon

Claire Simon

Alain Bergala
Xanae Bove
Emmanuel Chaumet
Claire Childeric
Michael Dacheux
Joel Danet
Emilie Deleuze

121 min.
France, 2016
DCP, Blu-Ray

Metrograph Pictures