Latest Issue

Not too much verité please

Documentaries are playing to big audiences in French cinema; but they pale next to films by Michael Moore or Ken Loach. France cannot bear much reality.

By Tim King   February 2003

Sensuous women, seductive men, haunting music, a rhythm of life that seems perpetual holiday-French cinema has always known how to charm: as close to reality as a glossy magazine. How odd, then, that recently the cinema queues in France have been for documentary films. Michael Moore’s “Bowling for Columbine” is one, but most are French. Each has sparked debate and shown a new generation that where television promotes apathy, cinema can stimulate the brain, not just overwhelm it with special effects.

One documentary stands out: Nicolas Philibert’s “?lt;CARON>tre et Avoir” (To Be and to Have), officially selected for last year’s…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect