This film, banned from release in France for almost 30 years, is broadcast this evening on television

This film, banned from release in France for almost 30 years, is broadcast this evening on television
This film, banned from release in France for almost 30 years, is broadcast this evening on television

While it is not uncommon for films to be banned from cinema release in dictatorships, as were for example Hunter Killer And Doctor Zhivago in Russia or Dead Pool and Jean-Christophe & Winnie in China, the thing is much rarer in France. This was nevertheless the case for certain feature films, such as The crow by Henri-Georges Clouzot, accused of anti-French propaganda, or the film Paths of glory by Stanley Kubrick which was only screened in France in 1975, 18 years after its production. A fate also experienced by the film broadcast on Sunday May 19, 2024 at 9:05 p.m. on France 5.

A film in a completely new format in France

This film is 1974, a campaign game, a documentary directed by one of the French masters of the genre, Raymond Depardon. This 1h30-long film follows Valéry Giscard d’Estaing closely during the 1974 presidential campaign, which notably pitted him against François Mitterrand. Unprecedented in France at the time, this approach takes its example from the film Primary, directed by Richard Leacock, who followed John Fitzgerald Kennedy during the presidential campaign in the United States in 1960. Is it out of unconsciousness or out of concern for honesty, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing leaves total freedom to Raymond Depardon, who films the presidential candidate in all situations, including when the main person thinks the camera is off. “Sometimes I keep recording when he thinks it’s overconfirms Raymond Depardon in an interview with Release. I then grasp things that he no longer controls. The whole film is based on this“.

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A martyr film” according to its director

Once the film was completed, Raymond Depardon of course showed it four times to Valéry Giscard d’Estaing. If the first screening goes well, the following ones are more complicated. “Each time it got worse“, confirms the director. Finally, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, meanwhile elected President of the Republic, opposed the release of 1974, a campaign game. “When we wanted to release the film, at the end of 79, a summary judgment fell on us when the Elysée was warned, with a risk of a fine of 5,000 francs per day. We gave up”, remembers the documentary maker. According to him, 1974, a campaign game even became “a martyr film, “the-film-interdit” by Giscard“. It was not until 2002, 28 years after the 1974 presidential election, that Valéry Giscard d’Estaing agreed to let the film be released.

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