A high school in Paris, a class of final year students, a group of four boys and three girls brought together by friendship and (for some of them) love. Their philosophy teacher, Rémi Terrien, cuts an oddball figure, very scholarly yet deeply scornful of his students. Then suddenly Caroline, the most fragile member of the group, jumps out of the window and kills herself during class. Why did she do it, and why in front of Terrien? The mystery surrounding her suicide seriously disturbs the group’s carefree attitude to life. Disregarding danger, they decide to delve deeper into their teacher’s private life.
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"There is a particular time in everyone’s life that is awkward. It’s called adolescence. What exactly is it? A general feeling of uncertainty. Most of the values that have guided you through life until now take a nosedive. These childhood values suddenly reveal their fragility. What we call “youth” is this self-inflicted lack of stability. The reason for this uncertainty is the recurring question of identity, which takes over completely. Your parents and teach-ers can always try to tell you, with the best will in the world, to “be natural and be yourself” but that’s exactly the problem. Your “self” has become someone else. You don’t know who you are anymore. Paradoxically, it is at this moment, when you could say your true life is beginning, that you are more often than not drawn to death — by motorbikes, drugs, suicide and other neat ideas that you come into contact with. For a long time I’d wanted to write a “Dead Poets’ Society” in reverse, where a small group of teenagers is pitted against a teacher who is neither generous nor respectable, but a genuine bastard. (Gérard Miller)