“Living”: admiring dive into the excitement of an editorial team

A genre more American than French, the journalism film often swings between two trends: either we work at it to reveal the cynicism of a practice where all falsifications and stunts are permitted; or, conversely, to show that there is no one more idealist and democratic than a journalist. We could place Vivants in this last category: the film observes the excitement of an editorial team through the eyes of a newcomer, Gabrielle (Alice Isaaz), a former high mountain guide who lands an internship as a camera operator within the team of a prestigious reporting program.

Unceremoniously catapulted, Gabrielle learns on the job, does some fieldwork, rubs shoulders with big names who have to juggle between the very lofty idea they have of their profession and the directives coming from above: the ever-increasing threat more concrete budget cuts which force the editorial staff to gradually abandon international news.

No newsroom worthy of the name without a strong cast: Pascale Arbillot, Roschdy Zem, Vincent Elbaz, Pierre Lottin and Jean-Charles Clichet. Alix Delaporte brings together actors from very different backgrounds who, collectively, set the film in motion and breathe energy into it.

Depoliticized profession

Where the problem lies is in the very – too – high image that the director of journalism creates. Under the guise of hagiography, it is the precision of the gesture that Vivants lacks: here we could just as easily be in the editorial office of a regional daily or in that of a 24-hour news channel, a left-wing newspaper or right. The processing of information, the editorial line and the way in which we treat reality are all central issues that are missing from the story.

Vivants seems to think that journalism is a perfectly neutral, depoliticized profession. It is also strange that everything is treated on the same register and by the same team: a trip to Fashion Week like a report in Sarajevo. Strange film which takes us behind the scenes of a profession without ever really showing us what it is made of. This is because by taking the side of unconditional admiration, Alix Delaporte abandons the reality of the profession in favor of a mirage: the journalist would only have virtues. It’s a little too good to be true.


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