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Tenth District Court

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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(Mar 07, 2006)
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Editorial Reviews

Drawn from over 200 appearances before the same judge, a dozen or so various misdemeanor and civil hearings in a Paris courtroom highlight the subtle details of human behavior and the issues of guilt, innocence, policing and race in France.

"The mundane never seemed so spellbinding…" – The Village Voice

"Revealing, compassionate and judicious, Depardon’s is one of the best films from France – or any nation – this year." – The Village Voice

"brilliant…hilarious…touching" – LA Weekly

"crisply edited, remarkably well-crafted" – Nashville Scene

"Depardon likens the legal system to a form of human theater" – Slant Magazine

Special Features

  • Deleted scenes
  • Discussion of the film shoot by Raymond Depardon
  • Audience Debate at Theatrical Release
  • Original French Trailer

Product Details

  • Actors: Michèle Bernard-Requin
  • Directors: Raymond Depardon
  • Producers: Adrien Roche, Claude Morice, Claudine Nougaret
  • Format: Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: French (Unknown)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Koch Lorber Films
  • DVD Release Date: March 7, 2006
  • Run Time: 105 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #206,868 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Tenth District Court" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a fascinating look at the everyday running of the French courts. It edits together actual court cases where the participants agreed beforehand to be recorded on film. This required a special dispensation from the Justice Ministry as court cases are generally not allowed to be filmed in France. It makes for a thoroughly absorbing 107 minutes of courtroom drama.

The first thing you notice is the absence of a jury as the French judicial system does not call for one. The question of guilt or innocence is decided solely by the presiding judge. The next thing you notice is the court procedure itself. Unlike the American justice system, most of the courtroom proceedings is handled by the judge. Direct questioning of both parties and any witnesses is done by the judge with the prosecuting and defence counsel essentially silent except when needed to clarify legal matters and for summations. This results in remarkably rapid decisions, with the simpler cases (DUI, weapons possession) disposed of in a single day. It also cuts out the frequent grandstanding of lawyers in American courtrooms when they have to appeal to a jury. One thing noticeable about this court in particular is that most of the court officials are women - the Judge, prosecutor and very often the defence counsel are women. One wonders if women make up a majority in the French legal system. Fortunately for us, the Judge here is not only photogenic, she is also personable, has a very pleasant demeanor and a good sense of humor. Another thing you pick up eventually, is the disproportionate number of North Africans and Arabs among the defendants. Judging by their numbers here, you'd think Paris is full of North Africans and Arabs. It does make you wonder why so many end up in court.
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Format: DVD
Viewers familiar with Court TV will find this film a fascinating look into another somewhat different judicial system, as it focuses on a series of proceedings in Paris' 10th District Court. Set up more like successive episodes of Judge Judy (though without the brassy edge of that particular TV personality), defendants must make their own case on charges ranging from domestic abuse to drunk driving, and the judge asks all the questions. Attorneys and the prosecutor, get to participate little, though when given the opportunity to speak can sometimes be even less coherent than the defendants. (The attorney for the young man charged with making harassing phone calls after a failed relationship attempts to dismiss the evidence of physical abuse as the excess of love in a typical tumultuous romance - you wonder what he had to drink before he came to court that day.)

While the men and women brought up on charges are fascinating to watch in closeup, one is impressed early on by the stamina required of the judge to be the chief interrogator, directing and making sense of each of their testimonies while consulting a pile of court documents that would fill a wheelbarrow. And we see the same judge handling expedited hearings (cf. night court) long after midnight, never showing fatigue and rarely losing her patience - at times even exhibiting a sense of humor. It is a job only for someone quick-witted and tenacious in the art of cutting through fog. "I hope you are able to sleep at night," says one disgruntled man found guilty of picking pockets in the Metro. One assumes with confidence that she does.
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Format: DVD
An insightful look at the day-to-day caseload of a busy French courtroom filmed as a documentary with subtitles. In each case,testimony is heard and the verdict rendered. Gives a good feel for French cultural and moral sensitivites--even in the most innocuous traffic violations. Very interesting that a majority of the defendants were minorities--illegal immigrants, and French ethnic Africans, Algerians, Morrocans, Tunisians, etc/
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