Archive of films Private Lessons / Elève libre

Belgium / France
2008, 100 min

Section: Focus on Belgian Film
Year: 2010

Fascinating and morally very complex ‘coming of age’ story in which teenager Jonas is prepared for his re-sits by a circle of adult friends. But they also guide and advise him through his first romantic and sexual experiences. Where do we draw the line under the freedom referred to in the original title?


This excellent psychological and moral drama tells the story of teenager Jonas (played by Jonas Bloquet) who is not bad at tennis, but isn’t doing very well in school. Nor can he expect much help from his divorced parents. At the tennis club Jonas gets to know a few friendly 30-year-olds, one of whom suggests giving Jonas a hand revising for his re-sits during the summer holidays. But the lessons Jonas receives are not confined to his school studies alone. His older pals also advise him on his early romantic and sexual encounters with his young girlfriend Delphine (Pauline Etienne). And advice is not all he gets. The result is a carefully constructed and well-performed coming-of-age story which gradually steps up the pace, and which closely examines the freedom suggested in the title and opens it up to discussion. "A nos limites” would thus be an appropriate motto for the film.

About the director

Joachim Lafosse (b. 1975, Ukkel, Belgium) rapidly gained notice with Tribu, a short film with which he graduated from Brussels’ IAD film school in 2001. His first feature film, Folie privée, followed in 2004. While still directing for the theatre, he wrote and shot the semi-autobiographical Ça rend heureux (2005) and the family drama Private Property (with Isabelle Huppert), which was selected for the Venice IFF in 2006 and screened at Karlovy Vary 2007. In 2009 Private Lessons was selected for the Quinzaine des réalisateurs at Cannes. Joachim Lafosse: "I wanted to invite the viewer to reflect on exactly where the dividing line lies between ‘la transmission’ (transfer) and ‘la transgression’ (transgression) in a person’s education. And why it is crucial nowadays to think long and hard about the importance of certain boundaries.”


Wallonie Bruxelles Images
18 Place Eugene Flagey, 1050, Brussels
Tel: +32 2 223 23 04
Fax: +32 2 218 34 24

5 rue Nicolas Flamel, 75004, Paris
Tel: +33 153 103 399
Fax: +33 153 103 398

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Focus on Belgian Film
Director: Joachim Lafosse
Screenplay: Joachim Lafosse, François Pirot
Dir. of Photography: Hichame Alaouié
Editor: Sophie Vercruysse
Producer: Jacques-Henri Bronckart
Production: Versus Production
Cast: Jonas Bloquet, Jonathan Zaccaï, Yannick Renier, Claire Bodson, Pauline Etienne
Contact: Wallonie Bruxelles Images, Playtime


Eric Franssen

Film Institution Rep.


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