FILMS

 

The impossible school Thierry Michel

The Collège Saint Martin, in the suburbds of Liège, in Belgium, is school to over 400 youngsters in mainstream education, but also and above all technical and professionnal education.

One section is specifically destined for young people who are in danger of dropping out of school, "good-for-nothings" , pupils who have constantly failed in school, whose report card has been stamped with a red "F" since primary school. They are aged between 14 and 20. A third of them are adults.

They are almost all children of immigrants, of 17 nationalities who came to settle in this steelmaking suburb, where the blast furnaces that brought prosperity to the region closed down 5 years ago? Following the Italians, Moroccans and Turks of the 50s to the 90s came waves of immigration from Africa - the Congo, Guinea, Cameroon, Ethiopia and Eritrea, and more recently Romania and Albania.

They all have parents in precarious situations: unemployed or on social welfare. They come to school because it is compulsory. It is their last chance to find a vocational guidance.

Their teachers are aware of the stakes for these pupils and the challenges they face. They have chosen to teach at this school consciously, by vocation and passion for their profession.

A year ago, we made the film "Children of Chance", with pupils in sixth grade at primary school, the  grandchildren of Turkish miners. Now we are preparing a new film on immigrant adolescents and their teachers...