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Monday, September 16, 2013

Chronicle of a Summer (1961) d. Jean Rouch and Edgar Morin

Chronicle of a Summer

Movie Review
Chronicle of a Summer (1961)
d.  Jean Rouch and Edgar Morin
Criterion Collection #648

 OK so this is a "cinema verite" film that features interviews with a variety of people in Paris and I think St. Tropez as well.  The handheld camera was introduced to the market while this film was being made, and the use of hand held cameras in Chronicle of a Summer would prove to be a turning point in the development of the film documentary.  I wasn't expecting Chronicle of a Summer to be particularly watchable, but I was pleasantly surprised at how interesting the slice-of-life conversations were.  In particular there are conversations about race and the holocaust held between a young, Jewish French concentration survivor, two African-French immigrants and some young French men and women that I found particularly compelling.

  More then just a museum piece, Chronicle of a Summer is a must for anyone interested in the documentary as a separate art form from the narrative film, for people interested in the French new wave and a "pass" for everyone else.  For anyone interested, the essay featured on the Criterion Collection product page is a must: One of the more thorough and in depth accompanying essays I've read and that is really saying something because all the essays on the Criterion Collection site are superb. 

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