Programmed by Sylvain Bich
Press photographers and paparazzi: a laborious and cynical world with its codes, rules and risks. Raymond Depardon shadows the reporters from the Gamma agency –long hours of hiding out to snatch a shot of Caroline of Monaco, Jacques Chirac visiting small shopkeepers, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing leaving for China, François Mitterrand at the Palais du Luxembourg, a Cartier party at Place Vendôme with Catherine Deneuve and Serge Gainsbourg, Coluche’s press conference and so on. An amazing glimpse of 1980s political life and high-society.
In pure direct cinema, Depardon films his colleagues from the Gamma photo agency. Despite being a photographer himself and co-founder of the agency, he shows them no indulgence. On the contrary, he films them in their often thankless or trivial tasks that involve waiting, hiding out, the often disappointed hopes of a scoop or a picture that will sell… And then returning to the office for the inevitable discussions about their professional and personal states of mind.
There’s something disorientating about watching this film now, speaking to us, as it does, of an era both distant and recent – the era before rolling news coverage, embedded journalists, social media and total control of information by those communicating it. But the seeds are all there in the situations that Depardon films, and the director’s foresight is one of the film’s great strengths.