The 10th District Court: Judicial Hearings

Raymond Depardon's riveting documentary about various routine cases brought before a woman judge in a Paris courtroom may be as brilliant as some of its advocates claim, but only if one's sufficiently alert to read at least some of the proceedings against the grain of her judgments. Through this procession of middle-class drunk drivers, alienated and/or dysfunctional individuals, and illegal aliens ranging from a pickpocket to an African whose only crime is never having the correct papers, a fascinating glimpse of contemporary France emerges—made apparent as much through the weary responses of Judge Michele Bernard-Requin and various fatuous court-appointed defenders as by the accused. The editing is brilliant. In French with subtitles. 105 min.

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