Les SEGPA is, unsurprisingly, the most problematic film of the last 5 years (we’re hardly exaggerating)

You dreamed of a light and spicy comedy, but you will only get a problematic and contemptuous film, which deteriorates the image of the classes of SEGPA.

This week the weekly podcast The only opinion that mattersin which Kalindi chronicles her bad film mood, talks about the film The SEGPAs. The article below is a transcript of the podcast.

There are days like this when the prospect of getting up enchants me as much as going to Roubaix on a tricycle, with Marine Le Pen on my back wheel. This morning is one of those days.

Must say that yesterday I took the worst drunk of what seems to me today to be a very long existence. And anyone who’s ever been drunk on a Tuesday knows what hell the rest of the week is, which only those who saw Maxime Gasteuil’s last show can claim to have endured.

But my hangover isn’t even the worst thing I’ve experienced today. Because by way of breakfast, I went to see The SEGPAs, by Ali and Hakim Boughéraba, a film adapted from an eponymous web-series which is a hit on Youtube.

What are SEGPAs about?

I’ll set the scene for you. It’s 8:45 a.m. (which is equivalent to 5 a.m. for the body of a person soaked in Italian wines), I’m at the UGC des Halles, in Paris, and like anyone with a hangover, I make bad life choices including buying a $12 pack of sweets and a bottle of Orangina when I can’t stand the orange stuff. In the room, we are ten.

Spoiler: in an hour, we will only be two. My neighbor is an old lady with a Hermès scarf. I wonder if she didn’t go out of the room. The screen comes alive. And here is the drama.

Not that the film is fundamentally bad (well, it is, but that’s not even the problem); it’s arguably the most fundamentally problematic I’ve seen since With open armsin 2017.

The SEGPAsthis is the story of several students from… SEGPA suddenly, who by dint of doing shit are fired from their college in Marseille and land in an establishment for rich whites, in mode High School Musical with quarterbacks and other cheerleaders.

At first, the SEGPAs were a stain. At the same time, there is one who literally shows up everyday with a crocodile playsuit and Ichem, the hero, poops on it for 1 minute. Very quickly, Ichem falls in love with an ultra-bourgeois little zouz, who gets off on slum with a big-hearted SEGPA.

At the same time, all new students quickly become very popular. Which is not to the taste of the principal, who has only one mission: to get them out of his little square. Because in truth, he is more racist than all the whites in his school and full of prejudices against anyone called Ichem or Walid, even though he himself is of Algerian origin.

Suddenly, the small group of friends builds a strategy to thwart the Machiavellian plans of the wicked headmaster.

Well then, there you are like: what is the problem? Certainly it’s not Haneke, but it looks really cute.

Spoiler: it’s not cute at all, it’s even frankly problematic. For an hour and a half, the film alone combines stereotyped images, even frankly degrading for the students of SEGPA who already suffer from stigmatization on a daily basis.

The SEGPAs, a generally problematic film

Still from the film Les SEGPA
Still from the film Les SEGPA

As a reminder, and according to the definition of public service, a class SEGPA welcomes young people from year 6and at the 3and with significant academic difficulties that cannot be resolved by educational assistance and support actions.

Students often mocked within their own establishment who are in this film represented as teenagers who are badly brought up, violent, and always inclined to fuck up shit.

Contemptuous and reductive clichés, poorly justified by the genre of comedy, which already made Internet users cringe before the film’s release, and particularly college teachers, including Rachid Zerrouki, a teacher in SEGPA and author of The Incasableswhich explained in a series of tweets how struggling students already suffer enough stigma and mockery not to have a (zero) movie add to it.

If the film is indeed very simplistic for the students whose portrait it aims to portray, I must nevertheless qualify Rachid Zerrouki’s remarks a bit. After watching the ENTIRE movie (I still can’t believe I stayed until the end, that’s probably what we call the energy of despair), it should be noted that most of these students of SEGPA will find a passion, one for journalism, the other for new technologies for example.

Thus, the entire second part of the feature film focuses on their evolution, which somewhat redeems the purpose of the project.

Too bad for this beautiful cast

Still from the film Les SEGPA
Still from the film Les SEGPA

The fact remains that the characters basely embody the clichés of SEGPA students vilified by Ali and Hakim Boughéraba, but also of students from immigrant backgrounds. The beginning of the film is a succession of racist stereotypes, which bothered me so much that I spent an hour hiding under my coat.

Want an example of a racist joke? Good if you insist! At one point, Issa Doumbia presents a young black man as a cousin of the family, then as an uncle, before realizing that it is in fact his son, which conveys the racist stereotype according to which people from of African immigration have so many children that they no longer even recognize them.

Distressing, you will tell me, and you will be right, because these racist gimmicks punctuate the entire film, which means that in reality, I have great difficulty writing jokes about this production.

Sorry, you thought you were coming here to cream your ears with some cheeky humor, and you’ll only get the venomous seum of a grieving person. But such is life. There’s no reason it’s just me having a shitty day.

Short, The SEGPAs, co-produced by Cyril Hanouna, embodies level 0 progressivism and spreads dirty ideas under the guise of bullshit. And the worst part is, it’s NOT EVEN FUNNY. Not even for a second. And god knows I usually laugh at all the poo valves. But there, nothing, I stayed like one stays in front of a Haneke: placid, on the verge of fainting from boredom.

Too bad, because in the cast we find great comedy actors, like Ichem Bougheraba, Walid Ben Amar, Camille Lellouche, Roman Frayssinet and above all the extraordinary Yacine Belhousse, who even from the height of his talent does not manage to redeem this film disaster.

Come on, as I want to turn the tide and end on a positive note, I suggest you, rather than going to see the Bougheraba brothers’ film, to take a look at the short films of the festival All the light on SEGPAscarried out by students in adapted general and professional education.

I assure you that it is worth a thousand times more.

Come on, I’m going to bed, hoping that tomorrow there won’t be Marine on the back wheel of my tricycle!


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