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Journal de France

The life, times and outtakes of photographer-director Raymond Depardon, who culls his archive for a film mixing self-portraiture with modern French history at its rawest.

Even if a screening is sold out, tickets are often available 30 minutes before the start of the film at the box office at each venue.

Journal de France

  • Director Raymond Depardon, Claudine Nougaret
  • Producer Claudine Nougaret
  • France 2012
  • 101 mins
  • UK distribution Soda Pictures

Sound recordist Claudine Nougaret and legendary photographer-director-reporter Raymond Depardon have been collaborators for 25 years. Journal de France emerges from Depardon’s archives – from out-takes and reels of reportage that he has accumulated since the early 60s. The result is a double portrait: at once an (auto)biography of Depardon, and a fragmentary history of modern France and its place in the world. Remarkable, often strikingly raw footage traces Depardon’s wanderings in Venezuela, Biafra, Soviet-occupied Prague, Chad (where he spent two years with the captors of kidnapped archeologist Françoise Claustre) and on the campaign trail with Giscard d’Estaing. In between historical footage that vaults from city to desert to jungle, Depardon today goes into ‘orbit’ around France, mapping the country’s hidden corners. An extraordinary, highly personal panorama of our times, the film also features cameos from Jean-Luc Godard and Eric Rohmer – and exactly one minute of silence from Nelson Mandela.
Jonathan Romney

Director biographies

Raymond Depardon was born in 1942 in Villefranche-sur-Saône, the son of a farming family, and taught himself photography at an early age, moving to Paris at age 16. His first major assignments as a photo-journalist were in Africa in 1960, and he then covered the Algerian and Vietnam conflicts before co-founding the Gamma agency. He added documentary film work to his portfolio from 1969, when covering the self-immolation of Czech student Jan Palach. Alongside the ever-growing esteem for his stills work (with Magnum since 1976), he has subsequently amassed a substantial filmography, and archive; he was last represented in the LFF by part of his Profils Paysans project in 2005. Claudine Nougaret, born in Montpellier in 1958, and having studied at the universities of Aix-en-Provence and at Paris VIII, started work in the film industry in the sound department on Alain Resnais’ Life Is a Bed of Roses. Her first film as director was a portrait of her grandfather. She first collaborated with Depardon in 1987 on the film Urgences, shot in the emergency psychiatric ward of the Hôtel-Dieu in Paris; worked for a while independently as a producer and occasional director; and in 1992 the pair founded the production company Palmeraie et Désert. In 2008, on Donner la parole, they first shared directorial credit.

Raymond Depardon filmography (selected)

1968 Jan Palach [s]
1970 Tchad 1: L’embuscade [s]
1973 Yemen: Arabie heureuse [s]
1974 1974, une partie de campagne [banned – released 2002]
1975 Tchad 2 [s]
1976 Tibesti Too [s]; Tchad 3 [s]
1977 Numéros zéro
1980 Dix minutes de silence pour John Lennon (Ten Minutes of Silence for John Lennon) [s]
1981 Reporters
1982 Piparsod [s]; San Clemente
1983 Faits divers (News Items)
1984 Les Années déclic [co-d]
1985 Une femme en Afrique (Empty Quarter: A Woman in Africa); New York, N.Y. [s]
1987 Urgences
1989 Une histoire très simple [s]
1990 Contacts [s]; La Captive du désert [fiction]
1991 Contre l’oubli (Lest We Forget) [ep Pour Alirio de Jesús Pedraza Becerra, Colombie only]
1994 Montage [s]; Délits flagrants
1995 À propos de Nice, la suite [ep La Prom only]; Lumière et compagnie [one ep only]
1996 Malraux [s]; Afriques: Comment ça va avec la douleur? (Africa, How Are You with Pain?)
1997 Paris
1999 Muriel Leferle
2001 Profils paysans : l’approche
2002 Un homme sans l’Occident (Untouched by the West) [fiction]
2004 Quoi de neuf au Garet? [s]; 10e chambre - Instants d’audience (The Tenth District Court: Moments of Trials)
2005 Profils paysans : le quotidien
2007 Chacun son cinéma [ep Cinéma d’été only]
2008 Profils paysans : la vie moderne (Modern Life); Le Tour du monde en 14 jours [s]; Donner la parole [s; co-d]
2011 Au bonheur des maths [co-d]
2012 Journal de France [co-d]
All docs unless stated.

Claudine Nougaret filmography

1986 Paul Lacombe
2008 Donner la parole [s; co-d]
2011 Au bonheur des maths [co-d]
2012 Journal de France [co-d]

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