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Pencils, The (Les Crayons) — Didier Barcelo, 2004

A girl is in love with a boy, but is she really as sweet and charming as she appears? A film in two parts – initially the story of young love and then strangely, some pencils’ horror story.

Modern Languages teachers will find a bespoke set of lesson ideas for this film here.

Classroom Activities

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  • How does the director use music to set the scene, especially in the opening sequences?
  • Consider what kind of music it is. Is this genre of music familiar and do we know where we are?
  • At what point in the film does the music change and why?
  • How does the director use it as a vehicle for manipulating our emotions?
  • How is sound used to communicate meaning?
  • Explain the use of the different camera angles. Why has this changed along with the soundtrack?
  • We call this the “turning point” – what exactly has changed – why is this surprising and what is the effect on the viewer?
  • What methods does the director use to play with our expectations?
  • How effective is the director’s method of completely changing the perspective of the film?
  • Consider the role of comedy and horror together – what effect do they have, especially when used together?


  • The young girl writes her diary and tells us that Julien kissed her – how can a diary be used in film or in works of fiction to drive the narrative?
  • How would you categorize this film? What genre is it?



  • The young girl is writing her diary in the first half of the film. Do you keep a diary? Do you know anyone who does? Imagine you are writing a diary entry and retell something that has happened to you or something you have done recently. Try to write it so that it has an effect on the reader (i.e. makes them laugh / cry / feel fear / contentment).
  • Complete the diary that the young girl is writing - how would she continue? What would she include?
  • Write a poem about colours / using colours. Consider a haiku style. Consider making it funny or ridiculous.

Clip Details

Year of Production 2004
Genre Comedy
Curriculum Areas Expressive Arts, Modern Languages, Literacy and English, Technologies
Director Didier Barcelo
Country of Origin France
Medium / Content Mixed Media, Fiction, Colour, Sound, Subtitles
Themes Relationships, Danger / Fear, Intolerance / Misconceptions, Creative Expression
Clip Length 03:07
Clip Length 03:07
Age Group P5-P7, S1-S3