Judith Jones on the Disappearing World on the French Basque community

Well, also on the strength of me speaking French, another film that I did was a Disappearing World, which was about the Basques in the very south of France. Disappearing World, it was quite an unusual one for the Disappearing World series. So Disappearing World usually went off to remote areas, and with a very small crew. They weren’t always places with hotels, etc. and tended to be remote, maybe Africa, South America, etc.. But this was one that would be about the Basques, and the people who may be losing the ability to speak Basque, and about the strength of the Basque community, and the culture and the traditions. So to have a PA on it was quite unusual. And I think there was probably some resistance within Disappearing World to have PAs because it was quite unusual. And again, I suppose the main rationale for me being there was because I could act as informal translator. So again, we went back over a number of months across the year to record what was happening with what were essentially sheep farmers living right down in the south west of France. So working with Leslie Woodhead, who was the director/producer, and David Wason, who was the researcher. Again, really interesting, although there were times when I wasn’t quite sure what my real role was. Obviously in terms of the organisation, that was one thing, but the shot list, because a lot of it was being spoken in French, was quite difficult. There was going to be a translation done. And we also had the anthropologist who spoke Basque and who spoke French. So she was also a strong link. But that was an interesting insight, and a great opportunity for me to work with people like Leslie Woodhead, really respected and esteemed programme makers, and to see how they, how they worked. Leslie had a very low-key approach really, very much one of the crew, very quiet. Obviously in charge, but not somebody who would throw his weight around. He was obviously very well-respected by everybody, but then, equally, would socialise with the crew in the evenings.

Leave a Reply