L'Ecole du pouvoir
|Arte télévision broadcast
this film in two parts, on 23rd and 24th September 2010. The description
given of the film is :-
Ce film en deux parties retrace, de 1977 à 1986, les années de formation puis d’arrivée au pouvoir d’un groupe de jeunes énarques. Raoul Peck s'est inspiré de la promotion Voltaire une génération d'étudiants qui a vu l'arrivée de la gauche au pouvoir dès sa sortie de l'école.
I was fascinated by it because, although the French higher education system has not a high reputation throughout the world (the various lists of the world's top 100 universities include very few French ones), it is largely because even the best French Universities - the Sorbonne, for instance - take second place to the Grandes Écoles, of which the most prestigious is ENA - l'École nationale d'administration, where the top French Civil Servants are educated.
Having spent a few years in Her Brittanic Majesty's Home Civil Service, I am all too familiar with the bumbling amateurism of the bureacrats who run my country, and the idea that top civil servants should be highly intelligent men and women just blows me away.
École nationale d'administration used to be élitist - you had to be the son or daughter of a top civil servant to get in. Nowadays anyone can take the entrance exams. You just have to be very, very bright, have an astonishing capacity for work, and be very determined.
The film is well worth a page to itself and a few extracts.
|The film starts, of course, with the Grand Oral, a public grilling of the would be énarques, where they are expected to demonstrate a level of knowledge, judgement and wit which would not have disgraced the Court of Louis XVI|
|Here is the second extract in which Matthieu, son of a working man gets carried away by his talent for oratory, and wants to start a Students Union to reform the ENA. There are a lot of specialised references to the system of assessment, the Grands Corps, and a previous rebellion by students. Read about them here, and here. And at the end of the clip the wily Abel Karnonski takes him at his word. He'll go far that lad...|
|In our third extract these clever young people are getting some work experience. Abel at the Mairie of Paris where he gets to consider the problem of dogs fouling the pavements, while on L'île de beauté another student comes face to face with the reality of the relationship between France and Corsica. And Louis de Cigy has obviously got the best of the deal... Incidentally, the references to the company Eurodif and the scandals of French nuclear sales to some very doubtful countries are real.|