The Kiosk (2021)

The Kiosk (2021)

A heart-swellingly poignant ode to a fading way of life and the precious slice of Parisian society that sprung up around it

The Very Best



Aliénor de Nervaux, Damien Fourmeau, Gérard Jacq
77 min


File this under: things you don’t expect to cry about, but do.

What it's about

Chronicles the day-to-day operation of a Paris newspaper kiosk, an unexpected meeting point for locals that is threatened by the decline of print media.

The take

This bittersweet little documentary about a Parisian newsstand will change the way you look at a kiosk forever: they’ll no longer seem like transitory stops on the way to somewhere, but a destination themselves. Director Alexandra Pianelli, whose family has run this particular newsstand for four generations, shoots from inside the tiny cabin, from where she and her mother dispense newspapers, magazines, directions, and friendly conversation with anyone who stops by.

Anyone who’s seen Agnès Varda’s Daguerréotypes — her fond portrait of the traditional shopkeepers of Rue Daguerre, the street she lived on — will recognize the same warmth and humane curiosity in The Kiosk, which documents a quickly fading way of life and the community that clings to it. As Pianelli movingly shows us, the kiosk is an invaluable fixture in the lives of an assortment of locals: regular customers (particularly elderly ones, who perhaps visit more for the company than the magazines), a big-hearted homeless man, and fellow vendors like Islam, a Bangladeshi asylum-seeker and fruit-seller who uses the kiosk to hide his merchandise so that French police don’t confiscate it. The decline of printed material that the film documents isn’t just a threat to the family business, then, but the very concept of a truly joined-up society itself.

What stands out

As well as giving us a loving portrait of the random community that sprung up around the newsstand, The Kiosk gives us a fascinating, intimate sneak peek into the profession that so many members of Pianelli’s family committed themselves to. The documentary was entirely filmed while the director was on shift in the two-meter-wide kiosk, from where she shows us the “fossilized” markings left by her great-grandparents’, grandparents’, and parents’ fingers, which scraped for coins from the same little drawers for decades. From inside the cabin, we also glimpse affectionate drawings of regular customers taped on the wall alongside a list of their usual purchases, a charming and even moving detail that only speaks to how much is being lost with the disappearance of this way of life.


Add a comment

What did you think? Who should watch it?




The Guilty (2018)

A minimalist, razor-sharp thriller that will have you gasping for air.


System Crasher (2019)

A tale of trauma and one of the most talked about movies on Netflix in 2020.


Forgotten Love (2023)

The stunning third take of the classic Polish pre-war melodrama


How to Deal with a Heartbreak (2023)

An unremarkable story about one girl’s journey towards love, success, and happiness


Bheed (2023)

An intense Indian social drama depicting inequity in a COVID-19 checkpoint


Nowhere (2023)

A riveting Spanish Netflix survival thriller brought to life in Anna Castillo’s performance


Love Is in the Air (2023)

It’s even more cliched and implausible than most standard-issue romantic comedies, but this Aussie film is not without its charms


Nanpakal Nerathu Mayakkam (2023)

Director Lijo Jose Pellissary invites us to Tamil Nadu in this dreamlike slice-of-life film


Hail Satan? (2019)

Forget everything you think you know about the Satanic Temple


A Silent Voice (2016)

A coming-of-age movie that circles around friendship and the atonement of a boy


Curated by humans, not algorithms.

agmtw logo

© 2023 agoodmovietowatch, all rights reserved.