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Chronicle of a Summer in May

On 27 May 2013 the BFI releases the hugely influential French documentary Chronicle of a Summer, newly restored, on Blu-ray and DVD (in a Dual Format Edition) for the first time in the UK.

Shot in Paris during the summer of 1960, and released the following year, Chronicle of a Summer is the compelling result of a collaboration between anthropologist filmmaker Jean Rouch and sociologist Edgar Morin.

Jean Rouch (Moi, un noir, Les maîtres fous) and Edgar Morin set out to chronicle the everyday lives of Parisians using a mixture of intimate interviews, debates and observation. Artists, factory workers, office employees, students and others open up to the camera to share their experiences, fears and aspirations. The film became one of the most influential of the sixties, and redefined the documentary form with its use of handheld cameras and observational techniques.

Rouch, whose work inspired the likes of Jean-Luc Godard, Jacques Rivette and Roberto Rossellini, trained his ethnographic lens on the metropolis, recording a series of extraordinary sequences, including a French survivor’s Holocaust testimony, to reveal the political underlying the personal in a society struggling into the post-colonial era.

The film questions the level of reality and truth in documentary filmmaking, and offers a fascinating insight into 1960’s Parisian society.

Special Features:

• Presented in both High Definition and Standard Definition
• Brand new restoration
• Un été + 50 (Florence Daumon, 2011, 75 mins): documentary on the making of Chronicle of a Summer featuring new interviews with the participants including Edgar Morin and Régis Debray
• Jean Rouch at the NFT (1978, 55 mins): audio recording of a lecture delivered by Jean Rouch on Dziga Vertov and Robert Flaherty's influence on his work and that of his peers
• Illustrated booklet with newly commissioned essays by Professor Ginette Vincendeau


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