Films about artists – specifically, filmmakers – court their own special brand of self-indulgence. But, when a film is clearly made by and for those passionate about the art, this genuine love can prove charming. A Paris Education (Mes Provinciales) is such a film, shamelessly spotlighting classics of Western cultural history. Bach features throughout the soundtrack, Mahler by way of Thomas Mann is unsubtly called out, and the French title is taken from a Pascal novel. Like its namesake, it follows a young man’s move to the capital and search for his artistic voice amidst ensuing disillusionment.

In A Paris Education, the protagonist is Etienne – a student from Lyon who throws himself headfirst into the artistic legacies he loves. It is an endearing choice, building enthusiasm and sympathy for his efforts on his screenplay through his complete immersion and infatuation. Conversations with his friends are by turns mundane, philosophical, and self-absorbed. It may alienate some, but judging these young adults’ earnest search for present meaning in the past is impossible.

A Paris Education revels in the process rather than the result and never reaches conclusions on the ponderings bothering Etienne and his friends. There are debates over whether films should be political or whether making ‘something honourable’ on the human condition is enough. A mentor tells Etienne that he appreciates youth who ‘believe in something’. Etienne himself says he will figure out his screenplay once it is finished. While not the most compelling viewing, forcing an end to the journey would negate this ever-present creation.

 ‘I don’t even know why I want to make films,’ Etienne declares in his eleventh-hour crisis of faith. A Paris Education, however, understands why people try. While its slow pace and self-reflexive focus sometimes lose engagement, spending two leisurely hours with idealistic students is a pleasure.



CAST: Andranic Manet, Diane Rouxel, Jenna Thiam, Gonzaque Van Beryesseles, Corentin Fila

DIRECTOR: Jean Paul Civeyrac

WRITER: Jean Paul Civeyrac

SYNOPSIS: Film student Etienne moves to Paris to pursue his studies and find his artistic voice, and the film follows his challenges and crises.