New Release: Nicholas Philibert’s La Maison de la Radio in Aesthetica

Nicholas Philibert’s latest documentary is a playful glimpse into day-to-day life at France’s public radio hub. Set over 24 hours, it follows the station’s lifeblood of hosts, artists and producers through the rooms of Radio France’s vast broadcast centre.

Francophiles will no doubt be familiar with France’s answer to the BBC, but La Maison de la Radio provides few clues for the uninitiated. Instead, we’re in at the deep end – meeting a whirlwind of unnamed characters across seven different stations – where the novelty of the “face behind the voice” doesn’t always translate.

However, what the film lacks in detail, it makes up for in scale. The sheer size of the organisation is captured perfectly, from a Tour de France correspondent delivering news from the back of a motorbike to a 100-strong choir perfecting their German accents. La Maison celebrates its subjects, with Philibert’s near-invisible touch seeking only to emphasise a moment of comedy or linger on a particularly awkward silence. Once in the groove, it’s undemanding yet enjoyable viewing.

Grace Caffyn

La Maison de la Radio is out on DVD from Artificial Eye. Find out more at www.artificial-eye.com.

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Credits
1. Still from La Maison de la Radio.