The recent project of legendary French cameraman Raymond Depardon is intercut with a selection of his astounding footage and images shot over 50 years around the world. “A tribute to a masterful eye, a humanistic heart and a wondrous life.” — Variety
Screened as part of NZIFF 2012
While legendary French photographer and filmmaker Raymond Depardon (Modern Life) travels his home country shooting photographs with a large-format plate camera, his longtime collaborator Claudine Nougaret assembles and narrates a selection of astounding footage shot over 50 years around the world.
“For four years Depardon traveled on and off around France… in the lead-up to an exhibition, La France (2010). His subjects tended to be places likely to disappear in the next decade, the kinds of slightly down-at-the-heels mom-and-pop tobacconists, cafés, barbershops and the like, where little seems to have changed for 40 years. It was an opportunity for the man to discover his native land in the same way he looked at the world, with an eye for the quintessence of a locale at a particular moment.
Depardon’s first foreign footage was lensed during riots in Venezuela when he was 21; subsequent trips from the mid-1960s honed his ‘listening and looking’ method, which synthesizes his philosophy of reportage. In the coming decades he crisscrossed the planet, shooting French mercenaries in Biafra (chilling), the Soviet invasion of Prague (tragic) and rebels in Chad (stunning and disturbing)…
Intercut with the found footage are scenes of Depardon’s French excursions and the story of his collaboration with Nougaret, his longtime sound engineer. Both remain fascinated by the world around them (recent images from Chad’s Djourab desert are breathtaking), leaving audiences to ruminate on the good fortune – for him and the viewer – of artistic lives actively engaging with the world.” — Jay Weissberg, Variety