Laurent Cantet (Human Resources, The Class) makes an enthralling return to form, drawing topical debate and socially conscious thrills from the true story of a writer intrigued and disturbed by a troubled student.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2017
French writer-director Laurent Cantet, Palme d’Or winner in 2008 for The Class, returns with a suspenseful tale, based on a true story, about a writer’s relationship with a right-wing student who troubles and intrigues her.
“This story of a successful crime novel author who is invited to a small town to take charge of a writing project is part social survey, part political documentary, with the potential flicker of a love story and the touch of a thriller.
The Workshop conveys a stunningly authentic portrait of French youth today; their class, racial and occupational concerns. The seven young people in author Olivia’s (Marina Foïs) class represent a snapshot of France’s colorful young population, no intellectuals with writing experience among them (all are played by non-professional actors). Charged with producing a book to promote the image of La Ciotat, a small seaside town located in between Marseille and Toulon, Olivia soon discovers that the one subject which unites her students is murder – though they can’t quite agree on what kind of murder they should write about, or how to treat it.”— Dan Fainaru, Screendaily
“Cantet’s film combines the slow-burn suspense of his Time Out (2000) with the boisterous class dynamics of its most obvious predecessor, his 2008 Cannes top-prizewinner The Class. Ornery right-winger Antoine (Matthieu Lucci) fascinates his teacher, Olivia, and bugs his classmates, but rather than devolving into a drama about a troubled soul, the story only deepens with the mystery of talent, intentionality, and political fault lines.”—Nicolas Rapold, Film Comment