Raymond Depardon aims his lens at a woman in a crowd and lets it fixate on her; maybe she notices and pauses, or maybe she continues on with her business unaware of the cameraman at work. What is it that he seeks? According to Depardon's longtime sound engineer Claudine Nougaret, he vies “to film her until she reveals herself." And reveal herself she does, along with each subject of Depardon's unwavering gaze. The ground-breaking photographer and filmmaker has been capturing French and foreign society for decades, but he turns the camera onto himself for the first time in the fascinating 2012 documentary "Journal de France."
Known to disappear to the ends of the Earth in search of his next subject, the quiet, pensive Depardon shows a dedication to his craft that is beyond measure. He lives and breathes his work, and has since a young age. “I’m in orbit. The van is my capsule,” muses Depardon, who brings the audience with him on a road-trip through rural France to photograph anything he sees along the way. A pioneer of direct cinema, Depardon's film clips from past decades are peppered throughout the documentary, capturing sight and sound without frills. Scenes of shocking sadness and violence filmed in conflict zones abroad mix with moments of everyday humor; one memorable clip of a silent Nelson Mandela sitting before Depardon's camera paints an intimate portrait of the leader.
Journal de France will make its North American debut as part of the Rendez-Vous with French Cinema festival on Friday, March 8th. For more information visit: http://www.filmlinc.com/films/series/rendez-vous-with-french-cinema.