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THE FIRST TIME

France, 1976 (MIFF 1977)

Director: Claude Berri

Claude Bern takes a semi-autobiographical look at the first, clumsy, sexual experiences of a teenage boy in the 1950s The child from his first feature, The Two of Us, (Alain Cohen) is now sixteen, and he has come to the end of the school year For his father, played by Charles Denner, only one thing matters, success in the examinations But Claude's attention is entirely diverted to erotic and sexual interests.

The boy receives a letter, his father steams it open, and to his horror, finds a love letter from a girl at Claude's school Certain that his son must be having an affair with a married woman, he rushes to confront the girl's father, whom he presumes to be her husband

Claude next attempts to seduce an older woman, and later goes off with a prostitute Though his experience is more limited than he cares to admit, his initial sexual adventures grow remarkably as he describes them to his friends Finally, Claude falls hopelessly in love with a French-Canadian girl.

Claude Berri describes the tone of the film: ‘It is primarily a tenderly ironic meditation on being a teenager in the 1950s. Adolescence is a period which adults tend to recall only in its beautiful aspects. But it is also anguish about sex, which is taken for love at that age.'

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