Exactly fifty years ago, Marceline Loridan and Nadine Baillot asked people on the streets of Paris, Are you happy? in a documentary experiment by Jean Rouch and Edgar Morin.
The Are you happy? project is finding out what happens when we ask the same question in the global environment of the web today.
The inspiration for the project, “Chronicle of a Summer” was a ground-breaking documentary, made in 1960 by Jean Rouch and Edgar Morin, which used the new technology of the day — handheld cameras and sync sound — to looked at the “tribe of people living in Paris”.
That project painted a picture of French society at the time — living with the legacy of the Second World War and German Occupation, divided over the independence movement in Algeria, on the cusp of the social changes of the 60s.
On the 50th anniversary of that film we’re using today’s new technologies — digital recording technology, the web, social networks — to see what they can bring to documentary making.
The Are you happy? Project is produced by Mandy Rose, co-founder and producer of the BBC’s pioneering camcorder project Video Nation, and of award winning participatory projects including Capture Wales and Voices.
The project is being undertaken as part of the CollabDocs research project at the Digital Culture Research Centre, University of the West of England, with funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council.
Filmmakers around the world have been contributing to the project, asking people; Are you happy?
We are looking for people to get involved — re-staging or re-interpreting the 1960 interviews in their own neighbourhood today.