Le Petit Lieutnant


Antoine graduates from the police academy and moves to the big city, intent on making his contribution to the fight against crime.
Captain Vaudieu immediately takes him under her wing.
Antoine fits easily into her team of work-hard, play-hard detectives.
Then tragedy strikes and Vaudieu has to fight the memories that she used to drown in drink. Revenge is small comfort.

Director's Statement

I began thinking about ideas for a crime thriller while I was editing my previous film To Matthieu. I didn’t have any precise framework for a plot in mind but I knew I didn’t want to take a book or a film or any other fictional story as a starting point.
I wanted my inspiration to come from real life.
I met a police captain working with the Criminal Investigation Division and spent several months following him out in the field and in the office, even passing myself off as a police lieutenant at times. That’s how I got access to crime scenes and to every stage of an investigation, even the most confidential parts, such as autopsies.
The reality often struck me as far more interesting than the clichés of the genre.
I had an idea for a story about a young lieutenant confronted with the harsh reality of his chosen profession on his first posting. I built on a true story, with the desire to be scrupulously faithful to the reality of a police investigation and to use all I had seen. Many of the characters, such as Skelettor, situations and even dialogue draw on my own experiences, which allowed me to flesh out the story. In writing the character of the petit lieutenant, I took my inspiration from the passion and fervour that I felt when I was starting out in the movies as a trainee assistant director.
Paradoxically, I also connect to Vaudieu’s story and her problems.
To bring the characters to life and add depth to scenes in the script that I deliberately kept as spare and simple as possible, I chose actors I had already worked with: Nathalie Baye (Vaudieu), Roschdy Zem (Solo), Antoine Chappey
(Mallet) and a newcomer, Jalil Lespert, to play the petit lieutenant.

Director's Biography

Born in northern France in 1967, Xavier Beauvois moved to Paris at the first opportunity, determined to become a filmmaker.
After encounters with revered critics Jean Douchet and Serge Daney, he found work as an assistant with André Téchiné and Mañoel de Oliveira. Aged 23, Xavier wrote, directed and starred in his acclaimed début picture, NORTH (1990), which was nominated for a César for Best First Film. He followed up with DON'T FORGET YOU'RE GOING TO DIE (1995), which won the Jury Prize at Cannes and the prestigious Jean Vigo Award. His third and most recent film, TO MATTHIEU (2000), starred Benoît Magimel and Nathalie Baye and, like THE YOUNG LIEUTENANT, premièred at the Venice Mostra.

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Xavier Beauvois

Written by: Guillaume Bréaud, Jean-Eric Troubat, Cédric Anger, Xavier Beauvois

Produced by: Pascal Caucheteux

Cinematography: Caroline Champetier

Editing: Martine Giordano

Cast: Roschdy Zem (Solo), Antoine Chappey (Louis Mallet), Jacques Perrin (Judge Serge Clermont), Nathalie Baye (Caroline „Caro“ Vaudieu), Jalil Lespert (Antoine Derouère)

Nominations and Awards

  • European Actress 2006
  • Feature Film Selection 2006