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The world sometimes seems divided into two camps: those who recall their teenage years as having been an exhilarating dream, and those who remember them as having been an infernal, nightmarish hell. With all this in mind, it might do to describe Passe ton bac d'abord... [Graduate First... / Pass Your Bac First...] as Maurice Pialat's "The Best Years of Our Lives", while bearing in mind all that such a description might suggest. It's an elastic, unsparing portrait of teenage life in the suburbs of France from an era when the phrase "sixteen candles" still might have first conjured the image of flames. A group of young actors including several local unknowns -- Philippe Marlaud, Bernard Tronczyk, Patrick Lepczynski, and Sabine Haudepin (once the little girl of Truffaut's Jules et Jim), among others -- make up the cluster of friends adrift beneath the twilight of their school years. There's drama, violence, and pot-induced laughs -- group holidays, indiscriminate sex, advances from teachers twenty-five years their seniors, attempted moves to Paris, and few prospects of passing the bac, the final set of exams French students take before embarking into the world to... do what? Marking the last work of Pialat's turbulent cycle of films made in the 1970s, Passe ton bac d'abord... is the brilliant spiritual sequel to the great filmmaker's feature-debut L'Enfance-nue -- picked up again from a vantage ten years on from the lives of the earlier film's protagonists. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present Maurice Pialat's teenage drama in a beautiful new transfer for the first time on home video in the UK. As part of the ongoing Masters of Cinema Series releases by Maurice Pialat, the DVD of Passe ton bac d abord... is released on 24 August 2009. ******Special Edition Including: * An 11-minute, 2003 video interview with Pialat collaborator's Arlette Langmann and Patrick Grandperret, conducted by Serge Toubiana (former editor-in-chief of Cahiers du cinéma and director of the Cinémathèque Française). * Après le bac [After the Bac] -- a 26-minute, 2003 documentary featurette by Serge Toubiana and Sonia Buchman that catches up with the cast and setting of the film in the present era. * Original trailer for the film, and trailers for the six other Maurice Pialat features available from The Masters of Cinema Series. * A lengthy booklet with a new essay by filmmaker and educator Jean-Pierre Gorin, and newly translated interviews with Maurice Pialat.
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