A social commentary on post-war France's urban developments.

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Jean-Loup Reynold ...
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A social commentary on post-war France's urban developments.

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Short | Documentary

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I agapi yparhei  »

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'A lifetime buying everything retail and selling oneself wholesale ...'
15 July 2013 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

A black and white short focusing on life in French cities post-war where there was a boom for housing and a more materialistic life. The film is a montage of scenes linked by the narration that sounds like a neutral commentator on the developing society but is actually very angry and bitingly critical.

People are ripped off for a modern lifestyle, in which 'more and more advertising prevails over reality', whilst being paid very little. They live in crummy housing, the 'fake homes' spoken of throughout, whose existence results in the destruction of the greenery in a city. The loss of the landscape cannot be replaced by all the gardens and the fake, insubstantial homes with tiny windows that look out onto nothing, are advertised on 100-year old trees which will soon be felled for the houses.

The most searing criticism is reserved for Paris and its middle and upper classes who enjoy education and the arts whilst around and beyond them life is a cultural as well as a literal wasteland. Shots of a shanty town but 3 kilometres from the Champs Elysee being a case in point. The footage is a silent comment on racial divides as well as class/financial ones, as the inhabitants of the shanty town look like newly arrived Maghrebi migrant workers and their families.

This is such a sad documentary and yet, as another reviewer suggests, its footage could be used to tell the opposite tale of prosperity and aspiration if the perspective were changed. An apposite observation made within the film itself as a statue symbolising noble and valiant virtues from an alternative view looks like it's begging for mercy.


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