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The Apprentice, which tells the story of Mathieu, a 15-year-old French boy studying farming, rarely looks like a documentary. Its camerawork is gorgeous, and sometimes the scenes seem a little too fortuitous, like when the farm’s matron upbraids the awkward, high-voiced lad for sweeping when he should have been milking. But your eyebrows go down when Mathieu learns to kill and butcher a hog, or when his mom nags him about his career choice, or when farmer Paul docks his grades because he took a half-hour to get up one morning. And while this is a beautiful look at life on a family farm, it’s really the story of Mathieu becoming a young man. He fights with his absent father. He cries to Paul about it. He plays guitar (incredibly badly) with cow-shit-covered hands. Oh, and we learn he’s failing his classes at the lycée agricole and has threatened a fellow student with a knife, but director Samuel Collardey doesn’t dwell on that, making the sideways point that while 15-year-olds may be idiots, the condition is rarely fatal.
At 4 p.m.; also on Wednesday, June 17, at 2:15 p.m. at AFI Silver Theatre.