From the producers, to the presenters to the guests, La Maison De La Radio watches these professionals at work, their meticulous and yet playful approach to their vocation. This fly on the wall piece has no narration, no introduction and no talking heads, and regrettably, no real point. Documentarians have a duty, an obligation to not only entertain, but to educate – and Philibert revels only in the former in this instance, merely scratching the surface, with a film that while undoubtedly easy to immerse yourself in, is in no deep nor profound, as it couldn’t be further away from his previous works Nénette, and his masterpiece, To Be and to Have (?tre et Avoir).
But that’s not to see Philibert hasn’t shown off his distinct ability for filmmaking, managing to never be obtrusive, allowing his subjects to be so natural and at ease, with a sequence between a fledging news reporter and his superior, as the latter gives her, rather damning feedback. But Philibert edits so remarkably, flirting between several characters and yet never losing the audience’s engagement. There’s a rhythm to his work, a tangible linearity – as he knows how to take every day life and illuminate it, find the subtleties, the nuances for us to appreciate and to resonate with.
Ultimately, we shouldn’t really care about this narrative – if we wanted to observe how a radio station works, we can apply for a work placement and make cups of tea all day. But we do care such is the quality of the filmmaking. If we are to analyse and study a radio station, it’s a good thing it’s French too – because thanks to a certain Alan Partridge it’s almost become impossible in this country. In fact, even during La Maison De La Radio, amidst the wave of French accents, you can often detect shades of Alan. Which is never not funny.