The Adolescent

The Adolescent is a French drama film directed by Jeanne Moreau in 1978, released January 1979. It was entered into the 29th Berlin International Film Festival. Set deep in the French countryside just before the start of World War II, it shows the often idyllic life of a remote village in the mountainous Auvergne where a family from Paris have come to spend a holiday with relations, an occasion which marks a coming-of-age for their daughter Marie, the adolescent of the title.


In the summer of 1939, Jean takes his family for a stay with his widowed mother. He works as a butcher in Paris and with him is his Dutch wife Eva and their only child Marie, who is 12. Marie falls in love with the local doctor Alexandre, a Jewish bachelor aged 30. He enjoys her lively and intelligent company until late one night she comes to the house where he lives alone and offers herself, upon which he has to reject her. Shortly after this she undergoes her first period and is taught by her grandmother to be more careful with men. Her place in Alexandre's life is taken by her mother, who begins a full-blown affair while Jean is away helping to bring in the harvest. The grandmother teaches Marie that this is something which can happen, but one must not talk about it and must seek to reconcile the married couple. When Jean comes back, Alexandre keeps away until at the village festival he asks Eva for a dance, upon which Jean punches him and a brawl develops. Everything ends with the outbreak of war.

    More details

    contentLocation Auvergne
    director Jeanne Moreau
    editor Colette Leloup
    genre drama
    keywords help married couple one night only child widowed mother
    musicBy Philippe Sarde
    producer Philippe Dussart Tarak Ben Ammar
    publisher Parafrance