Grande école (2004) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • Paul and Agnes have been going out for quite a while and Agnes is shocked to learn that he'd rather live with two roommates on campus than move in with her. As soon as he meets one of his roommates, Louis-Anault, Paul's behavior changes - he is attracted to Louis without realizing so himself. Agnes, on the other hand, gets quite jealous and offers a bet: Whoever gets to have Louis-Anault first, wins... If she does, Paul will no longer explore his homosexual desires, if he does - she'll walk away. Meanwhile, Paul meets Mecir, a young Arab worker, who shows him there's more to life than elite colleges...


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • First, the "Arab" in this movie is clearly male. Second, this is a well-produced movie based on a play. The movie makes the point that human desire for another can exist regardless of gender or sexual orientation. Paul, a Business School student ambivalent about his career destiny, has a passionate love and sexual relationship with his girlfriend. But Paul notes increasing homoerotic feelings for a male roommate, who competitively flirts with him to see how far Paul will go. Paul's girlfriend becomes aware of Paul's feelings for the roommate and makes a contest for whom Paul will have--her or the roommate. Into this mix appears a young laborer, Meric, a Frenchman, for sure, born in Paris, but close to the Algerian and Arab roots of his immigrant parents. Meric is drawn to Paul after Paul defends Meric, and the two embark on a sexual and romantic relationship that causes both to grow. Meric's and Paul's relationship reminds me of the one between Eric and Maurice in MAURICE--bridging class and racial devides. There is sort of equal time given to sexual activity of Paul with his girlfriend and with Meric--all scenes are erotic and sensitively done. There is also considerable frontal male, as well as female, nudity--which all fits with the theme of the movie. The movie is quite European in that it scoffs at notions that people can so easily be categorized as "heterosexual" or "homosexual". This point in interestingly made in the Special Features commentary by the director and stars of the movie. Salim Kechiouche, who plays Meric, does a knockout job in bringing his character to life. He is also quite charming and delightful in the Special Features section. Although this movie would appear mostly to gay men, others will find it provocative as regards its views of human sexuality, love, and desire.

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