Élève libre

  • 105'
  • Belgium
  • 2008
An élève libre is someone who receives private lessons. But the title has layers, because what is ‘freedom’ for Jonas? He is kicked out of school after failing his exams. Game stress puts an end to his hope of professional tennis. His parents are divorced and have largely disappeared from sight (Flemish actor Johan Leysen has a bit part as the father); Jonas is staying with friends of his mother. A friend of theirs offers to give him free private lessons for an exam which will help Jonas to catch up three years. He has to spend some time with the man, and they talk about algebra and literature, but also about sex and relationships. Like the couple with whom Jonas lives, the man is outspokenly direct. When Jonas talks about his first time, they ask him all the details. ‘Did she suck you ?’ ‘Is she vaginal or clitoral?’ ‘And inside, is she tight?’ At first their 70s openness and his blushing butchness are funny, but the sexual candidness gradually shifts to uneasy territory. The lady of the house wouldn't mind demonstrating a blow job - and otherwise he can watch her and her boyfriend? Jonas is especially confused by his private teacher.
Lafosse adopts a modest approach. With little music and a registering camera, he avoids imposing judgement. His film asks: where is the boundary between teaching and forcing something on someone, in word and deed?

Director
Joachim Lafosse
Countries of production
Belgium, France
Production Year
2008
Festival Edition
IFFR 2009
Length
105'
Medium
35mm
International title
Private Lessons
Language
French
Producer
Jacques-Henri Bronckart
Production Companies
Versus Production, MACT Productions
Sales
Playtime
Screenplay
François Pirot, Joachim Lafosse
Cinematography
Hichame Alaouié
Editor
Sophie Vercruysse
Production Design
Anna Falguères
Sound Design
Benoît Biral
Cast
Jonathan Zaccaï, Johan Leysen
Local Distributor
Cinéart Netherlands
Website
http://versusproduction.be/en/movies/private-lessons