por - Short Reviews
05 Dic, 2013 10:57 | Sin comentarios

Dossier scolaire

Dossier Scolaire / School Files, Andreas Bolm and Noëlle Pujol, France-Germany, 2012 

By Roger Koza

Who is the main character? The answer is clear: three youngsters who lurk in the halls of an abandoned school where classrooms are used now as rooms. Maybe the two girls set up the boy, who seems to want to escape that place but always ends up coming back. Is it a game or is it revenge? Is it a love story or a betrayal? Dossier scolaire gathers all of these dramatic elements and puts them in consideration. This description may suggest Bolm and Pujol’s film fundamentally holds no surprises, but it actually goes far beyond a high-school drama.

A ghostly and violent, even Nihilist condition suggests an hecatomb. The main set is a demolition site and though these three characters come and go around, the lack of students is what defines this empty space, deprived of life. A thorn-out school is always a sign of major malfunction, a symptom of other large failures. And this is the chosen threshold for the representation: in their scenes, Bolm and Noëlle denote and suggest but they never explain the genealogy of the death of this symbolically holly institution, nor the reasons why the protagonists are unable to stay away from the building.

The opening shot, marked by the gasping sound of someone who is apparently a prisoner; a backwards travelling shot in radical silence goes along with him presumably in his escape attempt. These are some of the many direction decisions which determine a state of things and a constant atmosphere. The least equivocal of all scenes is when the young man is picking up rubble to cast it away against the bottom of an empty swimming pool. The symmetry of the shot is perfect and the iconography is not an unlikely one in an apocalyptic context.

A mysterious and disturbing film, Dossier scolaire is in tune with that infinite loneliness transmitted by school premises in various contemporary teenage films; sex, rebelliousness, and enthusiasm have turned into a silent violence that finds a perfect and morbid contrast in the mortuary repetition of mathematic formulas and cosmological information. The world is dead.

Roger Koza / Copyleft 2013