How the French dispatch shows the lighter side of journalism

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Journalists’ stories make for a tremendous drama. In a narrative setting, investigative journalists play the same role in their stories as private investigators in mysteries. Uncover clues, hunt for leads, and ultimately expose the truth. However, with journalists there is the added weight, usually, of bringing down powerful people who do not deserve their power, making them crusaders of justice more than clever minds putting together a puzzle. When executed properly, films about journalists elicit a plethora of criticism and accolades, of Bob woodward and Carl Bernstein (Robert redford and Dustin Hoffman, respectively) to break the Watergate scandal by All the president’s men to the Boston Globe Spotlight team exposing the network of pedophile priests within the Catholic Church at Projector. Particularly when they focus on the work of real-life journalists, each of these films perfectly explains why the investigative journalist provides a valuable service to society, able to raise issues of global importance with extreme implications. about how people go about their day. lives today.

The point is, judging what is and is not great journalism on the seismic of reported information does not do the profession entirely justice. Yes, breaking down these gigantic stories is important, but journalists around the world cover a variety of different topics. Stories about art or food may not turn the world order upside down, but they can provide the reader with an emotional and intellectual glimpse into facets of the world that they may not have considered or have considered. just find interesting. What also gets lost in these great investigative stories is the importance of how the reported information is written, finding a way to make the story appealing to the reader so that the important information can actually stay. . The French dispatch, the last film of the writer / director Wes anderson, gives these kinds of journalists their own spotlight and shows that the journalist’s voice is just as important as the subject of his writing.

The French dispatch is a collection of four articles published in the fictitious eponymous column of the Liberty, Kansas Evening Sun, edited by publisher Arthur Howitzer Jr. (Bill Murray). The first is a play by Herbsaint Sazerac (Owen Wilson) over the fantastically named town of Ennui-sur-Blasé shown through the eyes of its most seedy individuals. Next comes a tale by JKL Berensen (Tilda swinton) about an incarcerated modern artist (Benicio Del Toro) and his relationship with his fellow inmate and manager (Adrien brody) and his muse and prison guard (Léa Seydoux). Next comes a field report from Lucinda Krementz (Francoise McDormand) of a student uprising, including his meeting with one of the rebellion leaders (Timothée Chalamet). Finally, Roebuck Wright (Jeffrey wright) sets out to paint a portrait of a renowned police chief (Stephen Park) and finds himself entrenched in a story to save the kidnapped son of the Police Commissioner (Mathieu Amalric).

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Image via Searchlight Pictures

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Each of these four stories, while also being fictional, does not cover topics of mass cover-up or extreme corruption. Instead, all of these pieces are human interest stories, where the people and emotions of the occasion are the story. Owen Wilson’s Sazerac, inspired by New Yorker writer Joseph mitchell, needs to immerse herself in the world of sex workers and the alleys of l’Ennui-de-Blasé to better understand how to capture the essence of the city. After all, it’s the people of a particular place that give it life, culture and a sense of making the place their own. Writing a short article on this city for readers in the United States may seem trivial, as most people reading it will probably never cross the Atlantic to visit this particular city. However, documenting and showing people a place they’ll never visit how other parts of the world work could have an impact on how a particular person decides to live their life. For example, an average day’s reading for a sex worker may change a person’s mind about how they view sex work as an occupation. Having a writer tell a little story in a unique way draws attention to little things that you didn’t know you wanted or needed to know.

All segments of The French dispatch are filled with copious amounts of voiceovers as if all four authors are reading their articles aloud. Rarely in films about journalists do we see or hear the end product of their investigations. The drama comes from the hunt for paper or a lack of time, so by the time the article is finished the movie ends, cutting into the credits. Hearing the distinct voices of the writers reading exactly how the stories would reach the general public makes you realize how inextricably linked the writer is to his work. Roebuck Wright by Jeffrey Wright, inspired by the legendary writer James baldwin, illustrates it best with his too eloquent and flowery language, said with a gentle and calm demeanor. The words come out of Wright with such ease that they activate other senses in your body, such as being able to smell and taste food prepared by the chief of police. You can feel her sadness when you see Willem DafoeAlbert is seated in a cell that Wright himself had sat in a short time ago.

Wes Anderson’s film stands out from the majority of journalist-centric films not only because it covers less explosive material, but also because it is a fictional film. Journalism films, while incredibly captivating, often feel like they congratulate themselves on telling an “important” story, even if it really was the initial real-world story in a newspaper or magazine that was most important. important. Movies are often built as the most exciting time in a person’s life, which when translated for journalists means their most important story. Obviously, Woodward and Bernstein exposing the Nixon administration’s wiretapping are worth telling, but it wasn’t the only story these two writers worked on in their entire careers. Whether it’s a profile on a specific person or just a random local report, these guys have written thousands of articles in their lives, and each has the potential to stay right in the minds of each other. ‘a reader. It is only rarely that a real life journalism film deals with any of these types of stories, such as The end of the tour by the director James ponsoldt In regards to Rolling stone writer David lipsky (Jesse eisenberg) acclaimed author profiling David Foster Wallace (Jason segel).

The French dispatch dates back to a time when magazines like The New Yorker had the funds to keep writers like this on staff and produce these very specific stories with great frequency. A magazine subscriber would receive each copy and read it cover to cover, not knowing exactly what story would follow. It’s no secret that the print media in recent decades, first thanks to television and now the internet, has struggled to stay afloat, let alone keep a well-paid team of writers. to cover stories that don’t have a flashy title. Algorithms filter the lighter side of journalism, making stories that were once discoveries untraceable. Of course, interest in these kinds of stories hasn’t really waned. Just look at a number like Antoine Bourdain, who adapted this kind of travel story journalism for television and entertained millions of people everywhere. People love to learn about things like art, food, culture, and history, but finding a way to put these things in front of people’s faces without hyperbole or panic will continue to prove nearly impossible as long as current search optimization operating structures and social media dominate the day. The French dispatch shows us that seemingly minor stories can tell us as much about life as those that dominate the world.

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