Magnum 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 Cévennes 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 are 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.
Official Selection, Un Certain Regard, 2008 Cannes Film Festival
Winner, 2008 Louis Delluc Prize
! Poised and poignant…draws fascinating and subtle insight from individuals whose cherished way of life is slipping away." - Time Out
"Superb, affectionate and astute!" - The Evening Standard
"Sublime…Timeless…A Sensational achievement!" - The Daily Telegraph