Journal de France
An omnibus introduction to the work and life of Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist and documentarian Raymond Depardon, Journal de France follows the septuagenarian as he travels and photographs his native land, interspersing contemporary footage with career-spanning clips from his four-decade-plus body of work. That oeuvre traverses both war zones and celebrity reportage, margins and centres. Depardon, considered the quintessential dashing photojournalist in France also has a rich career as an important filmmaker and as a documentarian in general. His intriguing subjects have ranged from the mercenary battlegrounds of late 1960s Biafra to the world of early 1980s paparazzi—as in 1981’s Reporters, which saw Depardon turn the lenses on the cynical shutter-hacks of Gamma, the photo agency he co-founded in 1966.
Both as a photographer and a filmmaker, Depardon minimizes editorializing and interpretation. He calls his approach caméra stylo, a kind of heightened vérité that draws its effect from the steady, precise accumulation of detail. Co-directed by Depardon and his sound engineer Claudine Nougaret, Journal de France works as a Depardon primer, a study of the old-school photojournalism process (in the film, he shoots his landscapes, portraits and street scenes with a large-format 20x25 camera) and a portrait of the long-running relationship between Depardon and Nougaret, his romantic and professional partner since the two met on an Eric Rohmer film in 1986… "Journal of the Second Half of the 20th Century would be more accurate… A tribute to a masterful eye, a humanistic heart and a wondrous life…"—Variety