A caricature of a PE teacher in the 1980s: Patrick Schulmann’s P.R.O.F.S. (1985)

By Thomas Bauer, Jean-Marc Lemonnier

This paper examines the caricature of the PE teacher in the film P.R.O.F.S. by Patrick Schulmann (1985), considering the film to be a kind of “freeze frame,” and therefore a source of useful information on the teaching of the time. It seems that two interpretations, both distinct and complementary, are possible. The first, that of the general public, refers to comedy in the strict sense, where the stereotyped figure of the “PE teacher”—a marginal figure in the “school house”—is reduced to its humorous dimension. The second, that of those within the school system, reveals a character who participates in the development of his status and discipline by seeking, for example, to modernize his teaching content. It is by pitting both of these interpretations against each other that the film becomes a real “sign” of its time and an original tool for re-examining the history of PE in schools.

  • cinema
  • physical education
  • social representations
  • cultural history
  • school
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