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Film / Le Péril jeune

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Le Péril jeune ("The Young Peril", a French play on words with "le péril jaune", i.e. the Yellow Peril) is a 1994 French film directed by Cédric Klapisch, starring Romain Duris, Vincent Elbaz, Hélène de Fougerolles, and Élodie Bouchez.

Four high school friends, Chabert (Elbaz), Momo, Bruno and Léon, meet in a maternity hospital, five years after graduation. Another high school friend, Sophie (Bouchez), is in labor. Her child is the son of Tomasi (Duris), a close friend of the four guys, who died one month ago.


Le Péril jeune provides examples of:

  • The '70s: The film is set in the 1970s and it shows: the students have long hair, they are involved in far-left movements, they listen to music of this period.
  • Coming-of-Age Story: The film recounts the last year in high school of five friends, their first experimentations with drugs, and their first crushes and relationships.
  • Cool Teacher: The math teacher who sets up a relaxation session before the tests. He also defends Tomasi during the staff meeting.
  • Creator Cameo: The director, Cédric Klapisch, plays the role of a father who leaves the maternity hospital with his wife and his newborn baby.
  • Dean Bitterman: Moroni, the principal, often punishes Tomasi and his friends. He also often threatens to dismiss Tomasi.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Tomasi finally dies of an overdose.
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  • Dumb Blonde: The five friends makes fun of Christine, a blonde girl, because they think she is stupid (for example, when she asks during a geography class what productivity is). Léon has a crush on her, but does not dare to start a relationship with her because of that.
  • Follow in My Footsteps: Momo's father is baker and he wants Momo to become one too.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Early in the film, we hear that Tomasi died one month ago.
  • Fun with Acronyms: The five friends create a political group, the "Groupe anarchie dure" (hard anarchy group), in short the "GAG" (sic). Of course, it's a joke.
  • Growing Up Sucks: Tomasi does not accept to grow into aldulthood. He gets really angry and leaves the high school when he realizes that his friends stop doing silly things and start studying seriously.
  • High School: The flashbacks describe the life of five friends during their last year in a lycée (a French high school which provides education for children between the ages of 15 and 18).
  • High-School Sweethearts: Tomasi gets married and has a child with Sophie, who he met in high school. Their marriage does not last long because he dies five years after leaving high school.
  • Hippie Teacher: The math teacher who sets up a relaxation session before the tests.
  • Hormone-Addled Teenager: A large part of the movie is about the (mostly unsuccessful) attempts of the five boys to date girls.
  • Hot Teacher: Barbara, the English trainee teacher. Bruno has a crush on her and it ends up in a Teacher/Student Romance.
  • How We Got Here: The story opens with the meeting of the four friends in the hospital. The bulk of the story is spent showing their last year in high school.
  • It Will Never Catch On: Christine says that she heard on the radio that unemployment will disappear within two years. When the film was made some 20 years later, unemployment was still a major problem in France.
  • Mushroom Samba: When the five friends take acid in the squad, the image turns yellowish to show that they are stoned.
  • Posthumous Character: Tomasi died one month before the meeting of the four friends in the maternity hospital. He is developed entirely via flashbacks.
  • Race for Your Love: Barbara has to go back to London. She says Bruno goodbye who is angry at her. Then Bruno calls Tomasi and tells him that he loves Barbara, but he has never told her. Tomasi advises him to run to the squat to tell Barbara his feelings for her. Unfortunately, when he gets to the squat, Barbara is already gone. So he goes to the train station, but the train has already left.
  • "Rashomon"-Style: Momo's account of the meeting between Tomasi and Sophie is different from Léon's. Léon remembers that Tomasi stared at Sophie and asked the girls if they had ever made love, whereas Momo remembers that he was trying to put his hand on the thigh of Félicité, a black girl. Downplayed, because the two versions are not totally incompatible.
  • Tantrum Throwing: He gets really angry when he realizes that his friends stop doing silly things and start studying seriously. He goes to a room where the students can spend their free time and he starts throwing objects around.
  • Teacher/Student Romance: Between Bruno and Barbara, the English trainee teacher.
  • Teen Drama: The film focuses on five teenagers.
  • Title Drop: An old customer of the bakery of Momo's parents tells Momo's mother that there are more and more young people everywhere, "c'est le péril jeune" ("that's the young peril").
  • Token Minority: Félicité is the only black person in the film. She appears in just one scene (the meeting between Tomasi and Sophie).
  • Whole Episode Flashback: The bulk of the story is made of flashbacks about the last year of the five friends in high school.
  • Your Cheating Heart: When Tomasi spends a night in the squat, Barbara leaves her bed where her boyfriend Bruno is sleeping to have sex with Tomasi.


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