Small Town Recreates 1950s France

Jean-Christophe Laforge is changing the way we think about historical film.

The director has undertaken a new film project in the small town of Busserole, France, what was intended to be a series of ten scenes called “Memories of a Village.” But it turned into so much more than that, as the town’s 500 residents became involved in a full-scale reproduction of what the town looked and felt like sixty years prior. It is an attempt to recreate these past events while those who lived through them are still alive to verify that, yes, that’s exactly the kind of beret this farmer would have worn, so that future generations will be able to see how their great (great great…) grandparents lived.

By rummaging through their grandmothers’ attics and scavenging for vintage farm equipment, these villagers have worked joyfully with Laforge towards the completion of the film. More than anything, this project has become a bonding experience for the community, a celebration of their collective history across generations. But for those future parents and grandparents trying to tell their kids how much harder they had it “back in their day,” it will be a far more immersive tool than showing them some dusty old photo album.