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Once again Isabelle displays an incredible talent and wide range of acting ability. In the film Sonja accidentally takes her class hostage after finding a gun in the back pack of one of her students. The story is at times comic, but ultimately tragic. The film gives enough background to understand her, but focuses mostly on the drama leaving so much unstated. The controversy over the absurdity of her demand for a national skirt day is particular amusing.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Isabelle Adjani shines in her "come-back"March 14 2011
- Published on Amazon.com
Isabelle Adjani is a monument in the French movie history. So many memorable roles and movies. But as she enters the latter stages of her career, she's been very picky about what to do, and this movie was the first movie role she chose to take on in 5 years.
"Skirt Day" (La Journee de la Jupe) (88 min., originally released in 2009) brings a politically charged topic: a female teacher wearing a skirt who is teaching in a public school attended almost excusively by Muslim students. The kids are mostly a bunch of thugs and no-goods, from a poor unbringing. Adjani's character at some point flips and can't take the constant abuse anymore, and when by chance a gun is found in one of the student's bags, she takes the class hostage. Things evolve from there, and you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out. Beware: this is not necessarily a "politically correct" movie (certainly by US standards but also elsewhere), and this movie sturred up quite a controversy upon its release. But what a great movie this turned out to be.
Isabelle Adjani won a record 5th "Best Actress" award for the French equivalent of the Oscars, and it's easy to see why: she simply blows you away with this performance. Meanwhile, I really recommend this movie.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
skirt tasticFeb. 7 2011
- Published on Amazon.com
Skirt Day is the kind of film that's rarely seen in the states, this film takes a very touchy social subject and really makes you look it in the eye while avoiding stereotypes and clichés. This is one French film that doesn't care who it offends; Isabelle Adjani is fantastic she is unafraid of controversial projects. I say see this film with an open mind.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Perfect "social thriller" about the "two cultures", and how they interact... or not :)!March 26 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
A mix of "Entre les Murs" ("The Class"), Michael Douglas' "Falling down" and maybe "Negotiator" (2008), this gripping even if unlikely film stars Isabelle Adjani, showing she's a great actress, and Denis Podalydès as "Brigadier Labouret" , who doesn't have to show anything, as a cop with problems at home.
Everybody has an antagonist in life, his Salieri. In this case, our brigadier has Bechet, who wants swift action, "shoot first, think later", style. Labouret, maybe because he knows from experience how things can quickly get out of control, tries to help our beautiful heroine, Sonia Bergerac, a literature teacher in an underprivileged state high school. Isabelle Adjani being born outside France, it's clear why she chose to star this film, and some of her monologues when she's not out of control are of course her "message", like when she tries to educate her unruly pupils about the value of education, how they owe it to their struggling immigrant parents to achieve something for all they've left behind, and how life isn't that tough for students like them, but it's ruthless for those (foreigners) who don't.
The State is represented by Nathalie Besançon, (also playing a classy chief at TV series "Enquêtes réservées") always beautiful, but easily misled, and the school principal "Cauvin", a bureaucrat, like all of his kind, trying to save his skin above everything else.
This film will keep you glued to your seat, it would be a disaster on a lesser actress than Adjani. Unpredictable, out of control, "like an actor who has lost his plot" as others have written. My gripes are two: I would have liked a bit more of screen time to "Mouss", the violent bully, and his pal. What makes them be as they are? The same for the female pupils, or should I say victims, Farida and specially Nawel, Nathalie's unlikely ally, also with issues of her own. I also didn't believe in the feminist issues, like the film's title for instance, or Sonia's lecturing on how males and females differ in terms of attitudes towards them when they have sex. For a sophisticated Moliere teacher, I think this sounds too like pop psychology. I mean, is that her "reivindication" for the media, what Labouret asks her, doggedly, and mistakenly of course?
This is also a film that will keep you thinking. What would you do to engage this troubled, rowdy teens if you had to teach them anything? How do you think they'll fare in life? Farid wanting to keep his bonnett is just an example of a bigger issue. Is laicisim just a fancy word with a bunch of violent kids who want to be footballers, read People magazine and participate in TV shows? Sonia, no cultural relativist, (notice her surname, with heavy literary significance) pokes fun at her pupils's lack of intellectual ambitions, in a very "grand actor's" way. She starts by trying to give them the class she never could deliver. Like making them memorize the real and fake name of Moliere, etc. But later, she finally makes them participate in a sort of "Big brother" contest, among themselves, just showing she's beginning to engage the pupils using their codes and language, understanding the limits of XIX century "classical" education, specially to XXI century "fragmented" / postmodern pupils!
The use of classical music (Mozart) to highlight the contrast between it, the "traditional culture" and the "all to modern" world in which our teacher fights is a resource that has been used before, but is effective, nevertheless.
There are two IMDb reviews you might like to check: "ck_104 from Lebanon" called this film a "committed/ social thriller", I think you can't expect a better one. And "herve naudet", himself a pupil like the ones we see at this tough film, who writes that Adjani lives her parts, and plays with her guts. I agree with "nyc host" from France that: "this film is more to-the-point than the very flat and bland take of the last Palmes d'Or 'Entre les Murs' ". And probably with ghibliii from United Kingdom here: (Adjani) "looks way too luxurious and sophisticated for the social milieu"
Nevertheless, it's a very good film by actor and director Jean-Paul Lilienfeld. I'm looking forward to watching more films directed by him. My favourite scene is of course her monologue with red lighting, in the beginning of the film and then later, you'll understand why.
Enjoy and think about it!
PS: Not because it's obvious it's less true: Adjani is stunning in her classy white tailleur and boots with high heels. Angel's face, really. Life's unfair :).
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
review of Skirt DayAug. 31 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
The stunningly beautiful Isabelle Adjani plays a high school teacher who discovers a handgun in one of her student's backpack, and takes the whole class hostage.
It's hard to explain the movie without giving too much away.
Most of the students in the class are not ethnic French. Many (most?) are muslims who think women in skirts are whores. Isabelle wears skirts, and is hassled a lot by her male muslim students. She's trying them how to be French, but they're more interested in their own perverted worldviews. As the national media gets involved and as some of these young criminals kept records of their crimes on their cell phones, their crimes are published to the world.
I'm giving this movie only four out of five stars because I didn't believe the ending.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A potent film, but perhaps for the wrong reasonMarch 3 2015
- Published on Amazon.com
Isabelle Adjani is one of my favorite actresses, although she usually seems most effective portraying put-upon characters who are on the verge of a nervous breakdown or madness, such as The Story of Adele H., One Deadly Summer, Quartet, Camille Claudel, and this film. However, I have serious reservations about this film despite its obvious potency. While I thought this movie was very good and kept one's attention from start to finish, we shouldn't forget that it is just a movie. Has anything like what this movie portrays ever happened in real life? Doubtful. It finally just becomes a compendium of all the fears, paranoia and stereotypes that the French (i.e. whites) apply to people of different culture. It wouldn't be as "dramatic" if it was really how things were. Alternatively, the teacher (Adjani) appears to be truly bad and unfit in her position, particularly if she can only "teach" brandishing a gun. And what is more, it is well-documented that French society--certainly more so than, say, Britain--is not an "open" society for non-white residents (particularly Africans and Muslim immigrants), who are mostly consigned to the worst neighborhoods and worst conditions. There is certainly no effort to "integrate" them into society as a whole, and this isolation obviously begins with the very young. Thus while the film does expose certain attitudes and beliefs that are contrary to Western mores, I think this film (and that other French film, The Class) gives a false sense of just how out of control these children supposedly are, and certainly in this film there is no sense of understanding of the discrimination in French society that is their "norm."