March 24, 2014 - 7:30 pm

2012, Cert 12A, 100 mins

An intimate, wistful portrait of France; past and present, directed by Raymond Depardon and his wife Claudine Nougaret.

Depardon is a justly celebrated French photographer, photojournalist and documentary film-maker. His work now spans five decades, every continent and a vast range of famous subjects; including glimpses of Nelson Mandela, Jacques Chirac, Jean-Luc Godard, Alain Delon and Eric Rohmer.

Now 71, he travels up and down France in a camper van photographing the changing landscapes and people. Along with his partner and sound recordist, Nougaret they rediscover archive footage; his TV reports from around the world; snatches of their memories and our history.

En route we see Nelson Mandela observe a moving minute of silence; archaeologist Françoise Claustre interviewed while held hostage by rebels in Chad in the 70s; Valéry Giscard d’Estaing on the presidential campaign, in snippets of film he would later try to ban.

“It’s fascinating fare, offering both an insight into the emergence of Depardon’s still influential “direct cinema” aesthetic, and an affectionate portrait of a unique visual artist and cultural archivist.” (Observer)

“Even in fragments, the humanism of Depardon’s gaze moves and inspires.” (TotalFilm)

An engrossing and valuable introduction into the work of Raymond Depardon.

Review by Anna Shepherd