‘Forever Young’ First Look: Valeria Bruni Tedeschi Makes a Splash at Cannes with ’80s Coming-of-Age Story

Exclusive: The director takes a semi-autobiographical look at her time studying theater at the prestigious Les Amandiers in Paris.
"Forever Young"
"Forever Young"

Valeria Bruni Tedeschi is a perennial Cannes favorite, having won the Prix Spécial du Jury in 2007 for “Actrices” and scoring a Palme d’Or nomination for 2013’s “A Castle in Italy.” Her latest film, “Forever Young,” takes a look at Les Amandiers, the prestigious theater school where she studied under legendary teacher Patrice Chéreau. The film, which she co-wrote with several other former students, uses the school as a backdrop to tell the story of several young artists launching their careers.

The official synopsis for “Forever Young” reads: “it’s the end of the ’80s in Paris, a young troupe of comedians have just been admitted to Les Amandiers, the prestigious theater school headed by Patrice Chéreau. They set out in life and in their early career. Along the way, they will learn, act, love, fear, live to the fullest and also experience their first tragedies.”

Bruni Tedeschi’s time at Les Amandiers clearly made an impact on her, and she was eager to revisit the school for the film.

“This school was a fundamental chapter for me, both in my work and my life,” she said. “The people I met there and the experiences I lived through left a profound imprint on me to this day.”

That said, she did not allow her memories of the school to cloud her artistic judgment. Rather, she and her collaborators probed their memories for anecdotes about the school but then used those memories to craft a new work of fiction.

“Let’s just say that the base is made up of memories. Not only mine but also Noemie’s and Agnès’ and in this instance other former students’ memories,” she said. “Afterwards, however, we give ourselves complete freedom to rework, fictionalize, mix, blend, and invent. All this constitutes our playing field. Imagination must be given the possibility to have fun, without self-censorship or too many taboos.”

“Forever Young” was directed by Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, from a script she wrote with Noémie Lvovsky, Agnès de Sacy, and Caroline Deraus Peano. It stars Nadia Tereszkiewicz, Sofiane Bennacer, Louis Garrel, Micha Lescot, Clara Bretheau.

“Forever Young” premieres in competition at the Cannes Film festival on Sunday, May 22. Watch the first clip, an IndieWire exclusive, below:

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