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Ethnographer-filmmaker Jean Rouch and sociologist-film critic Edgar Morin, assisted by a motion picture crew, interview people on the streets of Paris during the summer of 1960. Marceline asks passersby on the Place de la Concorde if they are happy. She discusses her childhood spent in a concentration camp and the death of her parents. Two African friends wonder why she has a tattoo on her arm. Rouch and Morin talk with an artist couple who are happy with the bohemian life and later with a bourgeois couple who work in an office. Angelo, a worker at the Renault factory, meets Negro student Landry, and they discuss their philosophies. Another student, Jean-Pierre, Marceline's former boyfriend, is also interviewed at length. Marilou, an Italian working as a secretary at Cahiers du Cinéma is interviewed twice. On the first occasion, she finds little meaning in life; later she falls in love, and during the second interview, she discusses her new perspective. At a beach resort in Saint-Tropez, Sophie talks about her career as a cover girl. Rouch and Morin then assemble everyone in a screening room where they view the edited film and comment on cinema verité. Finally, walking through the corridors of the Musée de l'Homme, Rouch and Morin analyze their subjects' reactions.