ONCE IN A LIFETIME / Les Héritiers

West Coast Premiere • Drama • France, 2014

DCP • 2.35 • Dolby 5.1 • Color • 105 min

Directed by: Marie-Castille Mention-Schaar
Written by: Ahmed Drame, Marie-Castille Mention-Schaar
Cinematography: Myriam Vinocour
Film Editing: Benoit Quinon
Original Score: Ludovico Einaudi
Produced by: Marie-Castille Mention-Schaar, Pierre Kubel (Loma Nasha Films)
Coproduced by:  Vendredi Film, TF1 Droits Audiovisuels, UGC, France 2 Cinema, Orange Studio
Cast: Ariane Ascaride (Anne Gueguen), Ahmed Dramé (Malik), Noémie Merlant (Mélanie), Genevieve Mnich (Yvette), Stéphane Bak (Max)
International Sales: TF1 International

At the Leon Blum High School, history teacher Anne Gueguen has to face her worst nightmare, a classroom full of distracted and unruly school “rejects” – the ones other teachers have given up on. This racially and religiously diverse group of struggling but tough inner-city kids seem to only agree on one thing: history is a boring subject with no relevance in their everyday lives.  Anne has a quality that these students don’t encounter often – she actually cares about them, and she has an idea that she hopes will inspire them.  Over the objections of the head of the school, she challenges the class to enter a national history contest with a project on Children and Teenage victims of the Nazi Regime. It’s a long shot at best, because the contest is usually won by more dedicated students from better schools, but a visit from a special guest gives them a fighting chance. Based on a true story, this inspirational drama was co-written by twenty-one year old Ahmed Dramé, who was part of the original class, and plays Malik in the film.

When Ahmed Dramé told his story to writer/director Marie-Castille Mention-Schaar, she liked it so much she decided to work with him to develop the screenplay. Known for her previous film, the comedy Bowling(2012), co-written with Jean-Marie Duprez, Mention-Schaar wanted to bring a more heartfelt, documentary style authenticity to her third feature, so she shot the film in actual classrooms with a mix of amateur and professional actors. To lend an air of natural authority to the portrayal of the real life teacher Anne Angles, Mention-Schaar cast actress Ariane Ascaride, who won a Best Actress César Award playing the pugnacious Jeanette in Marius and Jeanette (1998). The film sharply criticizes the education system while showing that dedicated teachers can make a difference. Mention-Schaar was an established producer before she directed her feature debut, Ma première fois, in 2012, which was nominated for a Best First Film César Award.


“…vibrates with genuine emotion.”

“A beautiful story with the remarkable Ariane Ascaride.”
– Jacky Bornet CULTUREBOX



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