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Chronicle of a Summer DVD+Blu-ray

aka Chronique d'un été (Paris 1960), Jean Rouch, Edgar Morin, 1961

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Film Details

Directed by Jean Rouch, Edgar Morin

Produced in 1961

Main Language - French with English subtitles

Countries & Regions - European Film, French Film

MovieMail's Review

Jean Rouch and Edgar Morin's study of the thoughts of inhabitants of Paris and Saint-Tropez in the 1960 summer is one of the most influential documentaries ever made, writes Michael Brooke.

One of the most influential documentaries ever made, Chronicle of a Summer put the term ‘cinéma-vérité’ on the map and triggered debates about notions of ‘truth’ in documentary filmmaking that remain all too valid today. In fact, one of the many fascinating things about this study of the lives and opinions of several inhabitants of Paris and Saint-Tropez in the summer of 1960 is the filmmakers’ scrupulous honesty - ethnographer Jean Rouch and sociologist Edgar Morin often appear on camera in order to discuss their aims with their subjects, and to show them the edited footage at the end to canvass their opinion about whether they were portrayed fairly (the results, perhaps not surprisingly, are inconclusive). 

Along the way, there’s a vox-pop survey about what constitutes happiness, detailed conversations about hot-button issues such as immigration, mental illness, the still-ongoing Algerian War and the legacy of WWII (sufficiently recent for a Holocaust survivor to still be a young and attractive woman), and the challenges of day-to-day living in a rapidly changing world.

Michael Brooke on 23rd April 2013
Author of 154 reviews

Chronicle of a Summer Chronicle of a Summer Chronicle of a Summer

Film Description

In the summer of 1960 anthropologist filmmaker Jean Rouch and sociologist Edgar Morin set out to chronicle the everyday lives of Parisians using a mixture of intimate interviews, debates and observations. Artists, factory workers, office employees, students and others open up to the camera to share their experiences, fears and aspirations. The result became one of the decade's most influential films, and redefined the documentary form.

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.

DVD+Blu-ray Details

Certificate: U

Publisher: BFI

Length: 90 mins

Aspect ratio: widescreen

Format: DVD+Blu-ray B&W

Region: 2

Released: 13th May 2013

Cat No: BFIB1167

DVD+Blu-ray Extras

  • 2 discs
  • 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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