Raymond Depardon: Journal de France

Take to the Coast With the Acclaimed Gallic Documentarian

“He told me he longed to make a film from the unseen footage he carefully stores in the basement—his first steps with a camera, his early TV reporting jobs, outtakes, and snatches of his memory,” says Claudine Nougaret, the wife and sound engineer of the celebrated French director and photo-journalist, Raymond Depardon. The short excerpt of Nougaret’s Journal De France sees Depardon capture the calm of a small seaside town in Pas-de-Calais on the English Channel during a journey around the country. The road trip acts as an autobiography of the man and his nation as he shoots cafés, factories, tabacs with his large-format camera. Complementing Depardon’s archive footage of Jean-Luc Godard and Nelson Mandela are clips from his 1981, César Award-winning Reporters, and La Captive du Désert, nominated for the Palme d’Or at the 1990 Cannes Film Festival.

Journal De France screens in selected UK and Ireland cinemas from January 31.

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Conversations (1)

  • Josh
    So lovely. I adore the way this film echoes Depardon's gorgeous photography. I only wish we got to see the shot that he made of the sea. Beautiful - i'm sure.
    • Posted By Josh
    • January 16, 2014 at 9:09AM
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    The Sea Close By

    Model and Actress Clara Paget's Beach Reading Marks the Centenary of Master of the Absurd Albert Camus

    The contrasting shoreline of Bournemouth on the English South Coast lends an evocative backdrop to Clara Paget’s reading of a passage from philosopher Albert Camus’ essay The Sea Close By, published by Penguin Classics in August. Shot by director and photographer Tom Beard, this visual interpretation of Camus’ text is part of the centenary celebrations of the Nobel Prize-winning writer’s birth. “I always had an image in my head of a chapter from A Happy Death by Camus,” explains Beard, who recently shot music videos for both FKA Twigs and Florence and the Machine. “It’s a sunny, rich portrait of his life growing up in Algiers—the heat, the sea, good weather; he paints an amazing picture. I wanted to try to do this in a very English way and create a sense of being transported through this extract.” Beard turned to rising starlet Clara Paget to narrate Camus’ dense, lyrical text in her husky, cut-glass British tones. “I am very fond of his blunt and honest style of writing,” says Paget, currently involved in the Michael Bay-produced TV drama Black Sails, set for 2014. “I was familiar with Camus’ novels such as The Outsider and The Fall and the smaller essays inspired me to delve further in.”

    To celebrate Camus’ centenary, NOWNESS and Penguin Classics are giving away original signed artwork and a set of the author’s works through a competition. Enter the competition here.

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    The Horsemen

    Capturing the Graceful Spectacle of Andalusia’s La Saca de las Yeguas

    At the end of each June, over 1000 horses that for most of the year run semi-wild in the marshland, plains and forest that surround the Andalusian town of Almonte are rounded up by yegüerizos, the horsemen who hold sway over these large herds. The annual La Saca de las Yeguas dates back over 500 years, and characterizes the rural Spanish landscape as much as Pamplona’s bull run, Buñol’s La Tomatina, and Haro’s La Batalla de Vino. Filmmaker Glen Milner spent four days with the riders, capturing the scale of the custom and the elegance of the horses as the animals were driven past the Hermitage of El Rocío to be blessed, and then into the town to thunder through the narrow streets. “Themes of tradition, and where tradition sits within modern society, really interest me,” explains Milner, who traveled to Greenland to shoot the first dawn of the year with Ben Hilton for Return of the Sun, a film that was shortlisted for Best British Short Film at the 2012 Leeds International Film Festival, and is currently working on a longer documentary about the Middle East. “After speaking with the horsemen in Almonte, and in particular their sons, it became apparent how much of their identity comes from their relationship with the land,” he says. “Horsemen as young as 15 talked of living in harmony with their surroundings and respecting the animals that share it.”

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