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The scene is set one Summer in La Ciotat, a town near Marseille which used to be prosperous thanks to its huge dockyard but has been in decline since its closing 25 years before. It is in this context of quiet desperation that a writing workshop has been set up to help a group of seven young people integrate into the world of work. Under the guidance of well-known novelist Olivia Dejazet, the participants are asked to write a noir fiction connected with the industrial past of their hometown. Session after session, one of them, a boy named Antoine, stands out. Provocative and aggressive, he gets noticed by his systematic opposition to all, including Olivia. Even more alarming, the story he has devised and that he reads aloud, the cold description of a mass murder seen through the eyes of its perpetrator, proves very disturbing. Antoine understands the killer too well. At this point, Olivia starts experiencing a feeling of attraction repulsion to Antoine.
CRITICS OF "The Workshop (L'atelier) [Audio: French]"
Brightest Young Things
The Workshop would like us to feel like we watched something meaningful about a lot of different things, when in fact it tabled all the elements of meaning, set some of them rolling, but didn't follow through.
The leads are excellent...anchoring Cantet's sincere, complex mixture of discourse and voyeurism, as if the undiluted teacher/student naturalism of his 2008 film "The Class" had fermented into something more volatile.