Composed of a series of personal archives, commissioned photographs, and film excerpts projected onto a blank screen by photojournalist and filmmaker Raymond Depardon as he provides a humble and self-effacing stream of consciousness biographical commentary on a self-assembled pictorial curriculum vitae to commemorate 20 years of professional photography, Les Années déclic favorably recalls the meditative film essays of Chris Marker, most notably Sans soleil (albeit narrated in first-person), as Depardon interweaves memory (at times, triggered by the recognition of images and at other times, selectively trivialized or highlighted by the benefit of hindsight), captured images, and vocational (and existential) introspection on the toll of his career on his relationship with his beloved parents. Mapping his bold (if not naïvely reckless) career trajectory from introverted hobbyist and reluctant farm beneficiary, to optical and photography studio apprentice, to freelance celebrity photographer, then to international photojournalist, Depardon assembles an equally fascinating and heartbreaking personal testimony of post World War II global crisis and social upheaval: the Algerian War, the Vietnam War, the secession of Biafra, the May 68 protests, the rise of the Khymer Rouge in Cambodia, the civil war in Chad, and (perhaps the most contemporarily portentous and sobering) the Soviet phase of the Afghan War. Integrating objective commentary of international tragedy with the pensive reflection of personal loss, Depardon achieves a thoughtful, distilled, lucid, and articulate introspection on the human imprint of turbulent history.
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