Mixte (Co-Ed), aka Voltaire High (2021), a French tv series streaming on Amazon Prime: "It's 1963, and Voltaire High has just gone...gasp..coed!" Sounds like it will be extremely heterosexist, all about boys and girls staring at each other. But maybe the subtitles will be hilariously inept, and maybe there will be some 30-year old fitness models playing high school hunks.
Scene 1: September 1, 1963. While a girl gets dressed, a male voice narrates: "Our school is going co-ed. I don't approve. Mixing boys and girls is detrimental to education. The boys will try to act more civilized than they are."
The girl finishes getting dressed, goes downstairs (her parents run a butcher shop), and leaves with her older brother, Jean-Pierre (Baptiste Messaline). He gives her the rules: "Don't talk to my friends. Don't talk to me. We don't know each other."
Scene 2: Outside the school, the boys are frolicking, smoking, staring into space, and buzzing with excitement. "Girls are coming! We're going to see girls! Maybe they'll be pretty! Maybe they'll have breasts!"
Meanwhile, the faculty complain: "No boy will ever learn anything again! This school will turn into a brothel. They'll be running naked in the hallways. Why should girls go to high school at all? Learning Latin and history -- they should be learning how to cook and keep house!
Whoops, the new English teacher, Miss Couret, is a woman! The Latin teacher is scandalized, rushes off in a huff, but Dean Bellanger (Pierre Deladonchamps, top photo) offers to show her around. She tries a "scatterbrained" routine so he won't feel threatened, but he assures her that he is ok with women working; his wife is a nurse.
Scene 3: The girl from Scene 1 -- Michele --arrives. Lots of hostile stares, some pointing and jeering laughs. Wait -- I thought the boys liked the idea of going co-ed. Another girl -- Simone -- arrives, then a whole group. The boys turn their attention to yelling insults at Pichon (Nathan Parent), calling him "piggy" and his friends "girlfriends." He can talk to the girls without dissolving into a puddle of hormones, so maybe he is gay.
Scene 4: The homeroom teacher yells at the Girl for sitting next to Pichon, and then forces Pichon to move. The boys jeer at him.
Scene 5: Latin class. The Girl is good at Latin, but the teacher nitpicks her translation. Then he criticizes a boy, Lebrauc (Gaspard Meier-Chaurand, for passing notes and being in foster care: "So the son of nobody wants to graduate! How ridiculous!" Michele from Scene 1 defends him, and the teacher sends them both to the Dean's office.
Scene 6: The Dean gives Lebrauc advice: "Since you belong to a despised minority group, people will always assume the worst. You have to be better than them. Don't give up -- I believe in you." Not having parents is a despised minority group? Or maybe he's Jewish? Was anti-Semitism common in France in the 1960s?
Next, he talks to Michele: "Since you are a girl, people will always assume the worst. And you've given them proof by the horrible crime of criticizing a teacher! You have to do better! Pretend that your teacher is a god, perfect in every way."
Scene 7: Michele's older brother grabs her outside the school. "Everyone already hated you because you're a girl, and now you commit this...abomination! You criticized a teacher! And cover yourself up. You look like a whore!" She's actually dressed like a Puritan.
Simone from Scene 3 approaches to reassure Michele. Sure, the teachers and the boys in our grade hate us, but the older boys -- the ones who have "discovered" girls -- like us being here. They enjoy looking at our breasts.
Scene 8: Ulp, no one thought of the bathroom situation. Surely boys and girls can't share -- a girl might sexually assault one of the boys! We'll have to dedicate a bathroom for girls' use. Sounds like a reflection of current attempts to keep transgender girls out of girls' restrooms..
The Dean walks through the courtyard, and sees girls' breasts and butts, a girl seductively eating a peach, a boy trying to hide an erection, and has a panic attack.
Scene 9: Lunch. The girls discuss their problems, teachers ignoring them or dismissing their answers. I saw a study where when teachers call on students, they give boys more than twice as long to answer. Pichot gets shoved around; Michele defends him. The boys yell at her.
Scene 10: The boys rig a pail of water above the English class door, so Michele gets soaked. It's like that scene in Carrie, but with water instead of blood. I expect Michele to develop psychic powers and explode their heads, but the teacher takes her to the nurse's office to dry off. Big Brother deduces what happened and rushes into the room to beat up the culprits. Pandemonium.
One of the boys got glass in his eye, and is rushed to the hospital. The others put their seats back, and Miss Couret begins English class.
Scene 11: In the nurse's office, Michele changes into new clothes (yes, we see it); only boys' clothes are available. Lebrauch comes in. They smile and flirt. She's not prejudiced against foster kids.
Scene 12: The Principal tells the Dean that girls and boys obviously can't mix without violence breaking out. The girls will be returned to a girls' school.
Miss Couret feels guilty since she left the class unsupervised for a moment, and a boy lost an eye. But it happened before class started, during the lunch break.
Back in class -- Latin again? The boy stare because Michele is wearing boys' clothes.
Scene 13: The Dean yells at Big Brother for not protecting Michele. Um...he beat up the boys who pranked her. "You have to change. Because in life, we have to live with girls. Unless you become a hermit or..." Are gay? No, "join a seminary." Gay people don't exist in this world.
The Dean goes home and talks to his wife about the events of the day.
Beefcake: No. I couldn't even find beefcake photos of the cast.
Gay Characters: Nothing in this episode. I went through Episode 5 on fast-forward: Jeanne, the school nurse, goes to the theater and meets the actress Irene, who "deeply moves her." In a lesbian way. She even dumps the girl she came with to go to a gay party with the hot Irene. They kiss. And discuss the problem of having to hide their interest in women.
Heterosexism: Looks like Pichon will hook up with The Girl, and Michele with Lebrauch.
Were People Really That Sexist? It sounds absurd to me, but maybe it was realistic for 1963 France. According to"Réflexions sur la mixité scolaire en France" ,mixed-sex education was introduced in French lycees after World War II, and became mandatory by 1975
1963: I didn't notice any 1960s-specific costumes, hairstyles, or pop culture references.
My Grade: B