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Sections & Films


Category: Edition 2005


Paris, in the Sixties. Hannah, a 16 year old girl, lives in the suburbs of Paris with her father, mother and two pretty sisters. Hannah isn’t happy: she is fat and feels closeted. Her best friend, is her homosexual and diabetic uncle. She senses she’s destined for big horizons and hopes that her talent for music will carry her away from her ugly-duckling niche. But she hasn’t made an easy choice: she plays the double-bass and dreams to join her high school’s jazz band, traditionally an all-male ensemble. After a brilliant audition she enters the band but she has to face the boys cruel ostracism. Hannah will have to use all her spirit and intelligence to react their nasty tricks. When she seems to throw in the towel, she finds an unexpected ally.

Category Official Competition
Section Y Gen
Tipology Feature Film
Duration 97'
Production Year 2004
Nationality France
Directed by Lorraine Lévy
Screenplay Lorraine Lévy
Based on the book “La première fois que j’ai eu 16 ans”
by Susie Morgenstern
Director of photography Emmanuel Soyer
Editor Sophie Reine
Production Design Yves Fournier
Costume Design Laurence Royer, Marie-José Escolar
Sound Jean-Paul Bernard
Music Sébastien Souchois
Main cast Marilou Berry (Hannah)
Catherine Jacob (la madre/the mother)
Serge Riaboukine (il padre/the father)
Pierre Arditi (Jérémy)
Myriam Moraly (Judith)
Stéphanie Pasterkamp (Sandra)
Produced by Bruno Pésery, Hélène Delale

the first time i was 20 regLorraine Lévy

Lorraine Lévy studied Literature and Law. During her studies she founded a theatre company. The company realized seven plays in seven years and some of them were written by Lorraine. After her studies she wrote twenty teleplays, above all comedies. THE FIRST TIME I WAS 20 is her first feature film. The screenplay of the film won the Grand Prix for the best screenplay and the Public Award at the Premiers Plans Festival in Angers. Lorraine already has a new screenplay ready.


Director’s statement

“I immediately felt that there was a bond between Morgenstern’s book and the screenplay I wanted to write and the film I wanted to do. All of ‘my’ themes were in the novel. The passion for jazz, the Jewish sense of humour of a New Yorker, coming of age problems, family relationships and acceptance of what is different from you. Hanna embodies for me that bright kind of reaction which allows you to move on. She enters the arena holding her head down but she never gives up on her passion. The screenplay was entirely written from her point of view. The film is set in the ‘60s with its colours always in the background. This is a coming of age story and as such it is also a timeless one. The three sisters react differently in front of sexism. The main difference between them and today’s adolescents is that our girls do not have to deal with machismos as much as their predecessors. As to the rest nothing’s really changed much.

Arena Films
France 3 Cinéma


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