Coming to DVD today, Tuesday, August 5: MODERN LIFE
Raymond Depardon’s exploration of rural France debuted at Cannes in 2008. Its extensive festival circuit included Rotterdam, London, Sao Paulo, San Francisco, Portland, BAFICI, Seattle, Jeonju, Palm Springs, and Jihlava, among others. The doc was recently released on VOD by Cinedigm, and is now out on DVD via First Run Features.
The third in a series by the acclaimed filmmaker, Depardon’s film takes as its subjects a handful of French dairy farmers. Visiting each in turn, with simple, personal narration establishing basic facts, and his camera trained on the road ahead, the filmmaker provides a literal travelogue through the French countryside, before settling at the table, in the barn, or in the field across from his often laconic subjects. They represent a traditional existence that would seem to put an ironic spin on the film’s title, though the encroachment of modernity is borne out as Depardon subtly teases out the increasing challenges of maintaining their routines in the face of senescence, economics, or, in the case of the unforgettable octogenarian bachelor Privat brothers, their nephew’s new wife, an interloper from the city. Elegaic and humanistic, with moments both bittersweet and humorous, the film bears witness to a vanishing way of life.