Chronicle of a Summer Criterion Collection Blu-ray review

  • Actors: Marceline Loridan, Mary Lou Parolini
  • Directors: Jean Rouch, Edgar Morin
  • Format: Blu-ray, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • Release Date: February 26, 2013
  • Run Time: 91 minutes

  •             The concept for this film seems to ensure that it was dated the moment that it was completed. It is a film which examines the lives of a random polling of people in a specific place during one specific summer. The things that were happening at that time in that place are specific to this exact film, and even if another was made it could never be the same. This is the type of film which cannot be copied, duplicated or remade. These views are specific to the people in Paris during the summer of 1960.


    In some ways the topics in this film are dated, as well as nationally specific. There is a great deal of discussion over the French-Algerian War, which had been going on for nearly a decade already. In other ways, Chronicle of a Summer seems just as relevant today as it was the day it was made. There are similarities between the cultural views towards the war than many could make correlate with Americans and their views on the war in Iraq.


    But even beyond the political similarities of the times, there are commonalities which can be found in mere humans. The most relevant questions asked of the people interviewed simply seem to probe what they live like, and whether or not they are happy. In the end, the same issues follow people, regardless of time or place. There will always be grief and sorrow, just as surely as there will always be happiness and hope.


    Filmmakers Jean Rouch and Edgar Morin make themselves a part of the discussion, and even expose their film to criticism and evaluation in the final sequence. Their film is more of an anthropologic study than a narrative feature; an experiment which resulted in something of a cinematic time-capsule. The Blu-ray release includes a new 2K digital master from the 2011 restoration. Also included is a feature-length documentary about the film, with additional footage. The special features also include archive and new interviews, with the filmmakers and scholars. The package includes a 35-page booklet with an essay by Sam Di Iorio.





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