La vie moderne

  • 88'
  • France
  • 2008
City dwellers often have a romantic desire for the countryside, and many people in the countryside feel attracted to the city for financial reasons. And financial beats romantic; the countryside is losing its population at a steady rate, while urban areas are bursting.
In his documentary series Profils paysans, Raymond Depardon registers the disappearing French rural culture. After L’approche (2001) and Le quotidien (2005), the third part opens with a camera moving forward on a country lane in the Cevennes and ends with a camera moving backwards in the same picturesque, deserted landscape. In between are several portraits of people who (still) live there, largely made up of conversations at the kitchen table. The tempo matches the surroundings: slow, yet not boring. The inhabitants are parsimonious with words, not exuberant storytellers interested in how they look to others. The abrupt, dour, focused answer predominates. The battle to survive is hard and is not always successful. There are problems with the cattle: illness, death or their voluntary or forced sale. The inhabitants are ravaged by old age, loneliness, the growing generation gap and inadequate income. This emphasises the feeling that we are witnessing something that is disappearing for good, ground down by the modern era. La vie moderne makes one melancholy without resorting to clichés.

Raymond Depardon
Country of production
Production Year
Festival Edition
IFFR 2009
International title
Modern Life
French, Occitan (Provençal)
Claudine Nougaret
Production Companies
Palmeraie et Désert, France 2 Cinéma
Raymond Depardon
Simon Jacquet
Sound Design
Claudine Nougaret
Local Distributor
EYE Film Institute Netherlands