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Modern Life
A film by Raymond Depardon

83 minutes, documentary, color, French w/English subtitles, 2008
DVD packaged in a certified Green Forestry eco pack

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Photographer and filmmaker Raymond Depardon is renowned for his documentation of the French countryside. In Modern Life he casts an affectionate and irreverent eye on a small community of farmers as they are confronted by the problems and challenges the contemporary world brings. Treated with equal suspicion, strangers and women are gradually accepted into the fabric of the farming life so as to sustain a way of life that celebrates the traditions and methods of old.

The CÚvennes region in southern France is a region of hilly passes, lonely farms and lonelier farmers. There we are introduced to aged bachelor brothers Marcel and Raymond Privat, whose old-fashioned shepherding methods and primitive farming techniques lead them into contention with their younger nephew and his 'outsider' wife from Calais. Then there's dairy farmers Germaine and Marcel Challaye, who struggle to maintain their diminishing flock with no help from their numerous children, and chain-smoking solitary farmer Paul Argaud, the very epitome of disillusion and governmental disinheritance. Finally the Jeanroy family offer a bleak picture of those that stay against the odds, with their son Daniel, who would much rather be doing anything else.

Through portraits of these unforgettable people, Modern Life becomes a witness to farmers' lives, values, and stories: all that binds them to the land, and its legacy.


"[4 stars] Poised and poignant...draws fascinating and subtle insight from individuals whose cherished way of life is slipping away." - Time Out New York

"Visually seductive, funny... A discovery well worth making." - Little White Lies

"Superb, affectionate and astute!" - The Evening Standard

"Rural France, like rural communities everywhere, are changing as new technologies and socio- political realities filter in from the outside. This colorful, poignant, and warmly funny doc watches as the close-knit land of small family farms senses that their hallowed way of life is slowly evaporating. Some stubbornly plan to die the way they have lived, others find ways to include the intrusions into their lives. And all do it for their families. Nice."
- Video Tape Worm

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