Les héritiers France 2014 – 98min.
Créteil, in the Paris suburb. At the lycée Léon Blum, a difficult class challenges its teachers, who are incapable of teaching or directing troubled pupils. Except Anne Gueguen, their history and home room teacher. To help these adolescents, who are condemned in advance by the system, find confidence in themselves, she suggests they take part in the Concours national de la Résistance et de la Déportation, a prestigious French competition created to help young people learn about the Resistance and the deportation of Jews and other “undesirables” during WWII. An ambitious project that changes their view of the world and of others.
The idea stems from Ahmed Dramé, a 21-year-old dreamer who decided, after winning the prize of the Concours national de la Résistance et de la Déportation in 2009, to write a screenplay about his remarkable experience. He contacted director Marie-Castille Mention-Schaar who liked the idea and collaborated with him. The fact that the screenwriter also became one of the movie’s stars adds another level to this success story, and is in complete accord with this compassionate movie. Despite its naïveté, simplicity and dualism, Les Héritiers goes straight to the heart thanks to the simple nobility of its subject. At the head of a troupe of young and lively actors, Ariane Ascaride, far from her usual haunts in Robert Guédiguian’s movies, is especially convincing, counterbalancing the weaknesses of a movie that is otherwise phoned in.