Based on the experiences of a class (called the “Promotion Voltaire”) of the French elite school of administration, ENA, “L’école du pouvoir” (The School of Power) retraces the years of study and then the “coming to power” of a group of young ENA graduates.
This two-part film looks back at the years 1977 to 1986, the years of study and then the entering onto the national arena of a group of young ENA graduates, just as the Left was coming into power.
Having succeeded in “le Grand Oral” – the extremely tough entrance exam for the National School of Administration – ENA, Caroline, Matt, Abel, Laure and her brother Louis find themselves proudly sitting on the benches of the most prestigious French “Ecole Supérieure” all determined to change the world. In their year of entry, 1977, the French parliamentary majority and Presidency have been right-wing for over 20 years and the “Promotion Voltaire”, as their class is called, vows to change from within what they see as a biased and obsolete system. Starting with the system that regulates their school…
But their years at ENA, a mixed bag of victories and disappointments, would be but a rehearsal for what awaited them on the outside upon graduation in 1980: the first round of a fierce struggle for power. Tempered by their first experiences in the field, some have learnt to use their every weapon. Others, constantly torn between their dreams of youth and their new responsibilities, struggle to ply the path of compromise.