LE JOLI MAI / THE LOVELY MONTH OF MAY

SYNOPSIS
This landmark documentary, co-directed by Chris Marker and Pierre Lhomme, was filmed in May of 1962, just after the passage of the Évian Accords, which officially ended the Algerian War. During this “first springtime of peace”—the first time in 23 years that France was not involved in any war—the filmmakers interviewed a random assortment of people on the streets of Paris, an endeavor that was made possible by new technological advances, such as portable 16mm sync cameras. (An important predecessor for Marker and Lhomme’s project was Jean Rouch and Edgar Morin’s Chronicle of a Summer, a Paris portrait released in 1961.) Marker, unseen, prompts his interviewees—ranging from highbrow engineers to a destitute mother to an Algerian teenager to a West African student—with questions about their personal lives and their feelings about larger political and social matters. Giving shape to these candid responses is Simone Signoret’s piquant, poetic narration (co-written by Marker), which balances astringent assessments about Parisians’ disengagement with the world with an unequivocal empathy for many of the film’s interlocutors.

Chris Marker is an artist. He has something to say about the ‘other France,’ the France we don’t see on the Champs-Elysees, and he says it simply and movingly.
—Richard Roud, The Guardian

DIRECTOR
Chris Marker
Pierre Lhomme

SCREENPLAY
Catherine Varlin

CINEMATOGRAPHY
Pierre Lhomme

MUSIC
Michel Legrand

CAST
People of Paris
English narration: Simone Signoret

AWARDS
International Critics’ Prize – Cannes Film Festival (1963); “First Work” Prize – Venice Film Festival (1963)

GENRE Documentary
LANGUAGE English, French
RUNNING TIME 145 min
PRODUCTION France, 1963 & 2013
RATING Unrated
FORMAT(S)DCP, Blu-ray, DVD

DISTRIBUTOR
Icarus Films

PRICE RANGE*
$200 to $350, pending format.

*Fees for screening rights are negotiable and may depend on: format, size of screening room, whether admission will be charged, etc. Check with each distributor and make sure to mention your participation in Tournées in your negotiation.