Film details a series of happenings, street and home interviews, plus a general panorama of Paris in May ’62. It gives the oo-la-la capital a new look and brings it down out of the frou-frou to reality.
Via intensive editing, people reveal themselves. Pettiness, common sense, posturing, guile, generosity, wit and meanness all come floating out to give a neat look at human foibles. There are shots of riots during the Algerian fracas, an African’s attitudes towards the French, stock-market worker outlooks, and many others.
There is also an intensive searching out of the underside of the city, housing problems, displaced persons, a worker priest who has turned leftist, and a fine envelope of well-shot scenes of the city and terse statistics on its overcrowding, arts, etc.
None of the usual Paris cliches are here. It is an absorbing piece of filming and does not seem as long as its three hours. There is already a two-hour version. The commentary is well delivered by Yves Montand. Lensing is also of top quality.