Imported 35mm Print!
Sabine Haudepin, Philippe Marlaud, Annick Alane, Michel Caron,
A typical French parent's admonition when a child wants more freedom, "graduate first," is here used ironically. Pialat's portrait of "the blank generation" of the 1970s follows several high school students as they enter the netherworld between graduation and the unemployment line. Drifters in their northern French mining town, they engage in palliative sex or desperate marriage; some head out for the anonymity of Paris. As in his previous films, Pialat looks with real insight into youthful subcultures. "Their absence of illusion, their despair, their bitterness toward society, are also those of Maurice Pialat," Jean-Baptiste Morain wrote in Film Comment. Variety called Graduate First "a tonic contrast to the recent spate of soft-hued films about youth . . . Pialat records [it all] with an acute eye for detail, gesture, and behavior and is admirably served by a cast remarkable for its naturalness and veracity. The director's omnipresent, discreet compassion never impedes his talent for social dissection."