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Trailer: French Social Dramedy ‘La Vie en Grand’ (Cannes 2015 International Critics’ Week Selection)

Trailer: French Social Dramedy 'La Vie en Grand' (Cannes 2015 International Critics' Week Selection)

From French director Mathieu Vadepied, comes the feature-length drama “La Vie en Grand,” which centers on a 14-year-old named Adama, who lives with his mother in a small two-room apartment in Stains, a Paris suburb. Despite being a promising student, Adam is failing at school, while struggling to adjust to the pressures of street life, and it will take an unexpected event to turn the tide, with the help of his younger friend Mamadou.

It’s the story of kids – children of immigrants who are trying to break free of the social stigma that comes with being perceived as *outsiders*, but instead of the tale unfolding in an expected somberly dramatic fashion, the filmmaker opts for something more quirky and humorous (although it’s certainly not a straight comedy), while avoiding the usual structural and stylistic clichés that can weigh down films of this nature. Although it’s still a film rooted in reality and isn’t watered down.

“In the script, we had to find a balance, and it was not always easy between harshness that is not watered down, and part ‘fable’ where one allows both daring and fantasy, while trying to tell the story through the protagonist’ eyes and the way they approach the events. Suddenly, while shooting, we had the idea of filming with a more documentary approach. For example, all the scenes with the two heroes were shot with two cameras and virtually no light. I wanted to find the unknown and the unexpected in a story of a time of adolescence where everything happens with a force and energy that are sometimes difficult to control,” said director Vapdepied who penned the script with Olivier Demangel and Vincent Poymiro.

The film, which was the closing selection for this year’s International Critics Week at the Cannes Festival, stars Balamine Guirassy as Adama, Ali Bidanessy as Mamadou, Guillaume Gouix and Joséphine de Meaux.

It currently has a French release date, via Gaumont, of September 16, 2015. No word on whether it’ll travel. 

Trailer below, which isn’t subtitled in English, but, thanks to Martine Jean, you’ll find a translation below which you can read as you watch it. The film, if released in English-language territories, will likely be called “Learn by Heart,” which is what the filmmakers have chosen to title it in English. But “Learn by Heart” is not a direct translation of “La Vie en Grand.”

“La Vie en grand” is produced by Unite de Production, in association with Ten Films.

Trailer followed by English translation underneath:



This is for the gas bill. This is for the phone.


You won a car and a check for ten thousand euros.

A beat.


We need to talk.


Are you crazy? Where did you get this?


Found it on the ground. It’s about 150 grams.


How do you even know it’s 150 grams?


It’s just a little bigger than an iphone and an iphone weighs 130 grams.


Will you please recite the poem?


I learned it by heart but I can’t remember it.


Grab your things and go the principal’s office.


Clean up your act. Abide by this contract and we won’t have a problem or else you’ll get expelled.


“Alas, when shall I see smoke billowing from the chimey again?”


It’s chim-ney.


Chim-ney. Did I say it wrong?


Chimey shortens the poem. You have to say Chim-ney to make it a 12 foot line.


What is this?


Couldn’t pass it up. Got it from the storage not the factory.


You’re playing with fire, Adama.


I got you something. It’s an internship. Could be your big break.


The hell you think you’re doing? I’ll blow your brains up. Starting with the little one. Pow.


See what happens when you apply yourself? You’ve scored a 13.

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