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Spotlight on France

Podcast: Documenting confinement in Paris, checking in with the French psyche, May Day history

Audio 25:31
Spotlight on France episode 38
Spotlight on France episode 38 © RFI

What does a filmmaker do when confined to a small Paris apartment? Film, of course. A personal look at the lockdown in Paris. Plus, sociologists check in on how the French are faring and discover a philosophical approach. And the labour history of May Day in France.

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With the end of the coronavirus lockdown in sight in France, people are starting to anticipate going back to work and piecing life back together. But the culture sector will have to wait: no date has been set yet for reopening of large museums, concert halls or cinemas. The confinement stopped the film industry in its tracks: shoots have been cancelled and projects put on hold. But documentary filmmaker Louis Villers (@louisvillers) has made the most of it and began filming his daily life with his partner Jiawa Liu (@beigerenegade) from the confines of their Paris flat. It's become an eight-part documentary series, broadcast every Saturday evening on French television. The couple talks about how the confinement has made them re-examine their lives and work, just like the myriad of friends and family they connect with online every day. (Listen @2'55)

Researchers have been interested in how confinement has affected people in France. A group of sociologists at Sciences Po has been checking in with a cohort of people every two weeks, with a survey. Ettore Recchi, the project’s coordinator, talks about how even though 40 per cent of people know someone who has been infected by the virus, stress levels about confinement have been remarkably low. (Listen @15'00)

May Day, 1 May, is Labour day in France, as in many countries. Traditionally a day of large union marches, that will not be the case during the confinement. We look at the day originated in the fight for an eight-hour working day, and we talk about the tradition in France of buying and offering muguet, or lily of the valley, on 1 May. (Listen @20'50).

Spotlight on France is a podcast from Radio France International. Find us on iTunes (link here)Google podcasts (link here), or your favourite podcast app.

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