La Mémoire Dur

Rossella Ragazzi
1 hour and 22 minutes


A documentary about a a group of children from various nationalities who attend a preparation class for learning French in a compulsory school in Paris.

Ibrahim lived with his uncle in the woods in Mali, for a few days he attended Koran school. He arrived in France using his cousin's passport. Alpha comes from Liberia, he lived in the city and during the war his family was dispersed; he arrived in France with a false passport. Nawel lived in Algeria where his large family was forced to have him adopted and taken to France. All these children attended the same class for learning French taught by the teacher Pascale. This fast course is aimed at inserting them as soon as possible in normal primary school classes.

For 9 months, the film director Rossella Ragazzi, filmed these children from various nationalities, showing how they were received in France and the relationship established between teachers and pupils. The children learn not only the language but also the values of their host society. Each child has strengths that often cannot be utilized effectively by the school but that are brought to light in the film. The struggle and endurance of the teacher reveals her to be a dedicated and passionate educator. The children, their parents or care takers, teachers and administrators were involved as part of the filmmaking process. Issues of immigration, cultural assimilation, social integration and educational philosophy are analyzed within the context of this film.