Cleves on Arte: what is the TV movie worth on the awakening to sexuality of a teenager?

Creator of “Thus be they”, Rodolphe Tissot offers with “Clèves” a dark and disturbing learning story about a teenager who awakens to sexuality, with its share of gray areas and disenchantment.

What is it about ?

Solange, 15, lives in Clèves, a small village in Haute-Savoie. Abandoned and left to fend for herself, that summer she discovers her body, pleasure, and the new power it gives her over men. It’s a revelation, a tsunami! But at the dawn of her emancipation, Solange confronts the chaotic apprenticeship of her femininity. His choice, inevitable, comes to sound the end of this tragic tale.

Clèves, June 10 at 8:55 p.m. on Arte and in replay on until September 7

Who is it with?

Revelation of the TV movie, Louisiane Gouverneur, seen in Mon Ange and Ce que Pauline ne vous dit pas, sensitively embodies the young heroine of the TV movie. Around her, we find Vincent Deniard (Germinal, What are we going to do with Jacques?), Sarah Suco (Ten percent, Nine Girls), as well as Aymeric Fougeron (who was also in the cast of What Pauline does not tell you) and Marie Dompnier (Games of influence, The Last Wave).

Well worth a look ?

Adaptation of the eponymous book by Marie Darrieussecq published in 2011, which was inspired by her own diaries to depict the awakening to sexuality of a young teenager in the 1980s, the television film written and directed by Rodolphe Tissot – in collaboration with screenplay with Marianne Pujas, Fanny Burdin and Vincent Poymiro – is freely inspired by the story, which it transposes to contemporary times.

The creator of Thus be they and The Last wave offers an intimate learning story, both dark and raw, about the awakening to sexuality of Solange, a 15-year-old teenager stuck in a small fictional village in Haute -Savoie (whose name is a nod to Madame de la Fayette’s novel). Isolated due to the divorce of her parents – a depressed mother and an absent steward father -, Solange is brought up as best she can by Vittoz (Vincent Deniard), her neighbor and long-time babysitter, a big guy who stayed with his mother and living off odd jobs.

The television film illustrates the way in which Solange, beginning to feel an attraction for boys, will become aware of her own body and the effects they have on them. From her first clumsy experiences questioning the notion of consent, at an age when the injunctions to sexuality and the lack of pedagogy often leave scars for life, Clèves shows with unvarnished realism the disillusions of a young girl full of films and novels extolling amorous passion, before coming up against the brutality of gender relations.

Vincent Deniard (Vittoz)

Embracing his heroine’s point of view, Rodolphe Tissot depicts the taboos and modesty linked to the female body with great accuracy (including a scene in which Solange, having her period before intercourse, struggles to discreetly get rid of her sanitary pad full of of blood). But it proves even more disturbing when it depicts the practice of “grooming,” occurring when predatory adults manipulate young teenagers from an early age in order to make them more easily abused.

To carry out these delicate sequences, the production called on an intimacy coordinator, a practice that is increasingly widespread in the audiovisual industry, as reported by The Parisian. Aged 19 at the time of filming, the actress Louisiane Gouverneur, who is playing her first main role here, was able to benefit from a long preparation time before the sex scenes, often disturbing linked to the fact that the heroine is minor. They were thought out like choreographies, in order to put the actors more at ease and to evacuate any apprehension.

Both raw and light in its form, Clèves is a delicate television film which questions a pivotal period of adolescence, and highlights the crucial need for solid benchmarks and education in sexuality and its limits in a society where taboos around the subject and its “grey areas” persist, and become the breeding ground for irreparable violence.

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