Film Review: The Workshop

Anyone reaching adulthood in 2018 finds themselves in a strange and scary place. The world has been raped and pillaged by previous generations. Environment collapse, rampant capitalism, severe inequalities, racial tensions, high unemployment, fake news, online bullying – the list is endless. Many find themselves with limited job prospects and little chance of ever owning a home of their own. Laurent Cantet’s new film, The Workshop, focuses on a group of young people who find themselves part of a new initiative.

Celebrated novelist Olivia Dejazet (Marina Foïs) arrives in the seaside resort of La Ciotat to teach a summer writing workshop. The attendees are a mixed class of local teenagers who have differing reasons for participating. They’re tasked with writing a crime thriller which will be published as part of a new scheme. Her one stipulation is that it’s tied to the town’s industrial past. She is fascinated by the angry Antoine (Matthieu Lucci), whose continued provocation threatens to derail the group.

The Workshop is a lively, powerful and intelligent drama which throws a Parisian intellectual into an environment of disillusionment and apathy. Teaming up with writer Robin Campillo, as he did so successfully on the Palme d’Or winning The Class, Cantet once again tackles prevalent social and political themes through the eyes of his characters. It’s a timely reminder that the pen is mightier than the sword and not to be so quick to jump to conclusions.

The Workshop is released in cinemas and on demand on 16 November.

Previous Live Review: Idle Ross, Plug, Sheffield (03/11/18)
Next Incoming: 3 Days in Quiberon

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