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Journal de France      cover photo

Journal de France 2012


Distributed by Icarus Films, 32 Court St., 21st Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201; 800-876-1710
Produced by Palmeraie et Désert
Directed by Claudine Nougaret and Raymond Depardon
DVD, color, 88 min.

College - General Adult
Art, Artists, Biography, Documentaries, Journalism, Photography

Date Entered: 10/05/2018

Reviewed by Jeanette Aprile, University at Buffalo

Claudine Nougaret and Raymond Depardon have put together a retrospective of Raymond Depardon’s work as a photographer, filmmaker and journalist in the understated Journal de France. Themes of travel, movement, journeys, relationships, justice, time passage and perspective unify this film about the work of one influential man, Raymond Depardon.

Inside Journal de France is a collection of powerful footage from Depardon’s life-long career. The mini-films are inserted alongside the comparatively calm, solitary journey of Depardon as he travels through the French countryside today. The documentary builds steadily as it spans a half-century of global events and political movements. A range of landscapes and historical topics are covered from across the globe. The subject matter is at times geographically and thematically disjointed, but rather than being disorienting, the effect is to impress the viewer with the breadth and interest of Depardon’s oeuvre. The focus of Journal de France is not quite on global events - as much as their impact does loom large on this film - but on how Depardon’s artistic technique and principles of journalism have influenced his coverage. The footage serves as examples of Depardon’s style.

Depardon’s work is influenced by cinéma-vérité, or observational cinema. In the film, Nougaret describes to Depardon’s developing technique “direct cinema,” as a “listening and looking method.” The method is demonstrated and elaborated upon throughout Journal de France.

Depardon’s wife, Claudine Nougaret narrates the film, providing insight and context for the featured footage - some of which chronicles the 25-year long relationship between Raymond and Claudine. As a result, this film gives unique personal insights into the documentary process and into Raymond Depardon himself. These more introspective moments bring dimension and a sweet tone to the film.

Journal de France is particularly recommended for students of photography, journalism and documentary films – the movie’s perspective is special because it combines an artistic perspective with a journalistic spirit. We watch as Depardon talks out his shots, and we are get a look at the development and evolution of a professional as he finds his subjects through the years.

Recommended for college, university and public libraries with collections in journalism, photojournalism, filmmaking, art, or French language.