Riots Surrounding ‘Les SEGPA Au Ski’: Is the French Movie the Problem?

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The hottest topic in the French film industry is the controversies and buzz surrounding the movie “Les SEGPA Au Ski”. The disruptive behaviours put up by young movie watchers in French cinemas have informed the decisions of cinema managers to suspend the screening of the movie. But is ‘Les SEGPA Au Ski’ truly the problem?

The arguments

The creators of “Les SEGPA Au Ski” have argued that instead of the widespread notion that the movie is out to get students who struggle in school, it is rather shedding light on the kindness and assistance struggling students need to cope with their academics.

However, individuals in the SEGPA world see the comedy movie as an exaggerated representation of the students studying the SEGPA way.

A SEGPA teacher wrote on X “My students will be caricatured in the movies like they are on YouTube. They will be made to look like fools and their already shaken self-confidence will be crushed” when the sequel was premiered.

But Walid Ben Amar, a cast of the movie in question defended the movie by sharing with SkyRockFM that “There are two groups of people in SEGPA – those who allow themselves to be defeated by others, and those who want to prove themselves and succeed. This movie sums up SEGPA perfectly, the way I experienced it at least.”

Ichem Bougheraba another actor in the film replied to critics with the defence that what is going on in the cinemas is not caused by the movie but by teenagers or youngsters who have not been educated enough.

“Shut your mouths, this is a problem with education. Parents, educate your kids. If I did this at the movies, my mom would smack me 124 times when I got home,” he said.

The facts

“Les SEGPA Au Ski” is the sequel to the 2022 film “Les SEGPA”. The movie which was created by the French brothers Hakim and Ali Bougheraba has recorded violence at the cinemas screening it.

Towns in France like Toulouse, Montpellier, Roubaix, and Bollène have seen the police intervene in their cinemas due to brawls among young people who pay to watch the movie. This has pushed cinema managers to suspend the screening of the movie.

The first violence was reported on December 27 at a cinema in Montpellier. According to media reports, the upheavals in the cinema entailed loud shouts and punches. It is further reported that riots persisted despite the movie being halted three times until the police were called.

SEGPA, the centre of the brouhaha is a French acronym “Section d’Enseignement Général et Professionnel Adapté” which translates into “Adapted General and Vocational Education Section”. Students who enrol for this programme are trained and taught differently from students in the usual schools to deal calmly and excellently with academic struggles.

Despite the talks surrounding the movie, “Les SEGPA Au Ski” sold 475,000 cinema tickets by its opening weekend (December 30 and 31, 2023). It is tipped to become France’s biggest box office hit in the coming months.

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