In France, criminals caught red-handed are first interviewed by a public prosecutor to determine how to proceed. Of the 86 such interviews Depardon filmed, he shows us 14. Conventional TV fare, except here it's up on the big screen in 35mm 'Scope. Shot from a fixed position with set focus and no cuts (save for legal reasons: what on earth did those three editors do?) the footage is gripping, funny, hair-raising. Depardon is non-manipulative, leaving us free to muse on anything from the officials' archaic fountain pens to the Oliver Hardy associations of those exasperated, appealing looks to camera. Curiously, from the deaf Arab up for petty larceny at the start, to the HIV+ prostitute on a car theft charge at the end, no one seems vicious or even unpleasant, making you wonder by what criteria those other 72 were excluded.
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