On 27th May 2013 the BFI is to release the hugely influential French documentary Chronicle of a Summer on Blu-ray and DVD (in a Dual Format Edition) for the first time in the UK. Shot in Paris during the summer of 1960, Chronicle of a Summer is the compelling result of a collaboration between anthropologist filmmaker Jean Rouch and sociologist Edgar Morin.
Jean Rouch (Moi, un noir, Les maítres fous) and Edgar Morin set out to chronicle the everyday lives of Parisians using a mixture of intimate interviews, debates and observation. Artists, factory workers, office employees, students and others open up to the camera to share their experiences, fears and aspirations. The film became one of the most influential of the sixties, and redefined the documentary form with its use of handheld cameras and observational techniques.
Rouch, whose work inspired the likes of ]ean-Luc Godard, Jacques Rivette and Roberto Rossellini, trained his ethnographic lens on the metropolis, recording a series of extraordinary sequences, including a French survivor's Holocaust testimony, to reveal the political underlying the personal in a society struggling into the post-colonial era.
The film questions the level of reality and truth in documentary filmmaking and offers a fascinating insight into 1960's Parisian society.
Chronicle of a Summer will be released as a dual format edition (containing both Blu-ray and DVD versions of the film) on 27th May 2013 by the BFI at the RRP of £19.99.
The disc will feature a brand new restoration of the film and the following extras:
Un été + 50 (Florence Daumon, 2011, 75 mins): documentary on the making of Chronicle of a Summer featuring new interviews with the participants including Edgar Morin and Regis Debray
Jean Rouch at the NFT (1978, 55 mins): audio recording of a lecture delivered by Jean Rouch on Dziga Vertov and Robert Flaherty's influence on his work and that of his peers
Illustrated booklet with a newly commissioned essay by Professor Ginette Vincendeau