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Friday, 20 January 2012

Fanny Ardant's (almost) radio silence

Asking open-ended questions is surely a golden rule of broadcast journalism.

In fact it's pretty much a guaranteed way of getting anyone to open up and talk no matter what the situation might be.

Fanny Ardant (screenshot from "Nos retrouvailles")

Open-ended questions will (essentially) give the person - in the case which follows, the one being interviewed - the chance to answer with more than just a simple "yes" or "no".

Sadly in France, all too often, a radio or television journalist will pose a mammoth question which, you just know, is going to elicit a response that'll probably end up being shorter.

It's a style which seems to be the accepted norm rather than the exception.

Maybe it's journalists wanting to show just how much they understand the subject under discussion.

Or perhaps they have inflated egos and are all-too-engrossed in themselves and their "take" on the matter, to the detriment of the person they're supposed to be interviewing.

Of course, it's a generalisation. Some can simply pose a pertinent question and the wait for the answer.

There are some very good interviewers with years of experience and capable of teasing a response - even from the most recalcitrant guest.

One such example is Jean-Marc Morandini, who hosts (among other things) a daily one-hour show on Europe 1 radio and a similar programme on one of the country's TNT channels, Direct 8, in the evenings.

All right, they're not exactly mind-stretching or highbrow. Morandini specialises in celebrity gossip and the media, and has a blog (which he's constantly promoting) that's not for anyone wanting a scholarly approach to news.

But even with his years of experience, Morandini sometimes finds himself up against a tough nut to crack, as was the case on Wednesday morning during an interview with one of France's finest actresses, Fanny Ardant.

She had been invited on to the show to talk about her role in the made-for-television film "Nos retrouvailles" scheduled to be screened on France 2 television in the evening and for which she had received some glowing critics (even if the film itself was less lauded).

But as you can hear from the interview, Ardant was being less than co-operative - and a ropey telephone line probably didn't help much.

You can clearly hear Morandini struggling to keep the flow going, although somehow he made it with a laugh of relief to the end of two-and-a-half minutes which includes pauses that were not so much pregnant as they were laboured (ouch).

It's all in French of course.

It raises a smile, but equally the listener is as grateful as the presenter when it's wrapped up.

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