1968: Demand the impossible
11AM on the Rooftop
“Those who lack imagination, can’t imagine what’s lacking”- Paris Graffiti, 1968
1968 was a year of seismic social and political change across the globe, 1968 was a year at the barricades, 1968 was the moment of freedom of expression – 1968 was magical! In
Of all the disparate but connected events, the Mai ’68 (May ’68) movement in Paris is the most commonly referred as a hallmark of 1968 protests. For cinema, 1968 was a year that changed many perceptions. Especially for the French films it marked a milestone in the lives of Jean Luc Godard, Philippe Garrel, Romain Goupil and others for their direct involvement and close encounter with the events of May ‘68. Handpicked for their multiplicity of voices, this eclectic series of films look back into the time and may provide a sense in to the time of chaos, the struggle for freedom of expression and the cost of it.
OCT 29 Tous au Larzac (Christian Rouaud, 2011)
Also called ‘Leadersheep’, this documentary traces, from 1970 to 1981, in the immense setting of the plateau of Larzac but also in the city of lights, Paris. It sheds light on the eleven years of non-violent and inventive fights led by the peasants of the plateau. They fought against their land being grabbed by the government in order to expand the Larzac military training camp. The resistance was iconic for being by a micro-society, that to this day is synonymous, in France, with peaceful protest.
OCT 30 ‘Half a life’ (Romain Goupil, 1982)
The film is a biographical black and white documentary about Michel Recanati, a militant leader during the 1968 riots in Paris. It tells the story of two friends in the Parisian left-wing groups when Michel goes missing and, as it is later discovered, commits suicide. It is a personal tale as well as an in-depth look at the political scene in France during those years. Much of the original footage was also filmed by Goupil, armed with a super 8 camera, ten years before targets around Paris.
OCT 31 ‘Nocturama’ (Bertrand Bonello, 2016)
The film is a French thriller about a group of teenage Parisian terrorists. It asks one to relate with kids who endanger, and murder innocent civilians. But Bonello, as opposed to ideology or incitement, focuses primarily on what his characters are feeling and thinking. The “cinema is an empathy generating machine” belief is proved entirely right when the film zooms in on the militant gang, holed up in a mall after having bombed and burnt downre the release of the film.
NOV 2 ‘May fools’ (Louis Malle, 1990)
The movie takes place in the May of 1968. That was the month that the revolution seemed poised to overthrow bourgeois society. ‘May Fools’ takes place on a small farm where a funeral is being held as the radicals are trying to shut down French society. Discussions of the will allow the outer world penetrate the house. Everyone seems to be on strike, and the mother cannot be properly buried because even the morticians are out. The funeral turns into a picnic. The picnic turns into a statement on free love. Secrets, confessions and charges fly everywhere. But… is the deceased really dead?