Synopsis by Mark Deming
Filmmaker Raymond Depardon offers an unprecedented look at the nuts and bolts of the French judicial system in this documentary. In France, cameras are rarely permitted in courtrooms, and laws mandate that footage shot during a trial cannot be shown publicly for 20 years. Depardon, however, was given special permission to spend three months in the 10th District Courthouse of Paris with a small camera crew, where Judge Michele Bernard-Requin hears a wide variety of cases. With the permission of the accused, excerpts from 25 trials are seen in this film, ranging from theft and weapons charges to driving without a license and making harassing telephone calls. Depardon allows the natural humor of the testimonies shine through without intruding on reality and reveals Bernard-Requin to be a judge who is caring and compassionate, but nobody's fool.
courtroom, criminal-justice, France, judge, Judicial-system