Archive of films The First Time I Was Twenty / La première fois que j'ai eu 20 ans

2004, 97 min

Section: Visions of Seven - Youth through the Eyes of French Filmmakers
Year: 2006

A film about a Jewish family with three daughters living in a caring community. But one of them, 16-year-old Hannah, due to a weight problem and her courage, experiences all kinds of trials before she wins approval.


16-year-old Hannah is no example for the catwalk, but instead of dieting, she keeps opening the fridge to “eat away” her despair at the fact that she doesn’t have any of the charms of her two sisters. Even her parents are at a loss what to do about her eternal moaning and her weight problem, so they are delighted when their daughter takes an interest in playing the bass in the school jazz band. Hannah initially has to overcome the exclusively male group’s reluctance to accept her. But when she is finally given a chance, her troubles are still far from over... In its benevolent approach and explicit aim to resolve all types of conflict, the film is reminiscent of Truffaut; like him, the director believes in the basic good of man, even though it might be buried deep down. The nostalgic, harmonising tone well suits this retro narration about life in a Parisian suburb during the early 1960s, whose serene atmosphere at the time sharply contrasts with what we have been told about these locations in the press in recent months.

About the director

Lorraine Lévy is a dramatist, stage designer, screenwriter and film director. She initially began studying literature, but then switched to law at Sceaux university and gained experience in the legal environment. She then worked as a publisher’s editor and collaborated on various projects writing scripts and dialogues. In 1987 she established a theatre company for which she wrote the successful play Finie la comédie which enjoyed many repeat performances. Another play, La partage, was staged in various venues in France, in Paris with M. Bouquet and F. Périer. From 1999 she headed a writing course for three years at the European Conservatoire for Audiovisual Works and also created eight episodes and scripts for TV. The film The First Time I Was Twenty is her feature debut as a writer-director.


Pathé International FR
2, rue Lamennais, 75008, Paris
Tel: +33 1 717 232 30
Fax: +33 1 717 232 60

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Visions of Seven - Youth through the Eyes of French Filmmakers
Director: Lorraine Lévy
Screenplay: Lorraine Lévy
Dir. of Photography: Emmanuel Soyer
Music: Sébastien Souchois
Editor: Sophie Reine
Producer: Bruno Pesery, Hélene Delale
Production: Arena Films
Cast: Marilou Berry, Catherine Jacob, Serge Riaboukine, Myriam Moraly
Contact: Pathé International FR


Lorraine Lévy

Film Director

Catherine Jacob



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