• Events

Commemorating the Global May '68 Events

Fifty years after the transformative May ’68 student-led protests in France, universities and cultural institutions across the country are presenting diverse programs and events that revisit the spirit of the ’60s in all of its facets, from revolution to social activism and more.

Check back here periodically for an updated listing of events.


Au cœur de Mai 68, a traveling exhibition of photos by Philippe Gras, accompanied by a film by Dominique Beaux (entitled "Mai 68, un étrange printemps") will tour the United States this year. The exhibition, entitled Au cœur de Mai 68, is a collaboration between the association des Amis de Philippe Gras and les Films des quatre Planètes. It features 43 previously unpublished images of the May ‘68 protests taken by acclaimed photographer Philippe Gras and discovered after his death in 2007. The photography exhibition is accompanied by the 2-part documentary film Mai 68: une étrange printemps featuring first-person accounts by politicians, union representatives, and law enforcement.

Au cœur de Mai 68
Apr 24 - 26, 2018
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (IL)

Au cœur de Mai 68
Apr 5 - Apr 30, 2018
The University of Mississippi at Oxford, Mississippi & Nashville (Tennessee)

Au cœur de Mai 68
May 1-25, 2018
University of Chicago
Harper Memorial Library West Reading Room

Talks, Lectures, and Colloquiums 

Conversations on Europe. 1968...50 Years Later
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor (MI)
April 10, 4 - 5:30 PM
On the 50th anniversary of the 1968 European revolutions, the Center for European Studies presents the events of 1968 through a film series and a round table discussion that will examine what these events meant for social actors then, and how we remember them now. Panelists will address the historical significance of 1968 in France, Germany, and Czechoslovakia, and discuss how these revolutions still shape these societies and Europe as a whole today.

Sous les pavés: 20th/21st-century French and Francophone Studies Colloquium
Brown University, Providence, RI
April 12-14 
A colloquium will examine the May ’68 protests through French-language literature, critical theory, cultural studies, gender studies, postcolonial studies, cinema studies, and the history of art, among other lenses. With participation by author Maylis de Kerangal. 

May 68 Fifty Years Later: When? Where? What? And does it even matter?
Columbia University, New York, NY
April 27, 1-5 PM
This panel will collectively reflect on the very historical and political parameters of May ‘68: WHEN was May ‘68 exactly? WHERE did it occur? WHAT was it about? How did the events shape subsequent political landscape? With Kristin Ross, Ludivine Bantigny, Julian Bourg, Souleymane Bachir Diagne, Imen Amiri, Bernard Harcourt, and Emmanuelle Saada 

May 68 in Theory
New York University, New York, NY
May 1, 7 PM
A true event cannot merely be the object of already given theories: it challenges them and interrogates the very sense it makes to practice theory in general. This is eminently true of May 68 in France: it has been an event for “Theory.”

Mai 68: Une relecture de l’événement à partir de Foucault et de Bourdieu
New York University, New York, NY
May 2, 6:30 PM
Mai 68 continue d’être interprété de manières très différentes et souvent contradictoires en France. Si certains l’ont considéré comme une révolution anticapitaliste, héritage des luttes ouvrières du XIXe siècle, d’autres y ont vu l’avénement triomphal de l’individualisme contemporain. Pour ces derniers, Mai 68 aurait annoncé le néolibéralisme. Ces deux interprétations opposées ratent la singularité de l’événement de 68 et se méprennent sur la période néolibérale suivante.

May Made Me
Albertine, New York, NY
May 3, 7 PM
The mass protests that shook France in May 1968 changed European politics to this day. Fifty years later, Mitch Abidor and Todd Gitlin will delve into the oral testimonies of those young rebels collected by Abidor in his new book, May Made Me. 

Interdit d'interdire: How May '68 Changed Both Sides of the Atlantic
Consulate General of France in New York, 934 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10021 
May 8, 6:30 PM
For both France and the United States, the 1960s were a period of unprecedented cultural and political change. 50 years later, we want to commemorate this historical period and to explore the social and anti-war movements that echoed the popular protests of 1968. 
RSVP to rsvp.new-york-fslt@diplomatie.gouv.fr

Relive A Night of Philosophy and Ideas
A Night of Philosophy and Ideas, the sunset-to-sunrise event on January 27-28 brought philosophers, musicians, artists, and authors from around the world together at Brooklyn Public Library in Brooklyn, New York. The 12-hour night paid homage to May ’68 through a special screening of Cinétracts, a collection of silent shorts on the events of May '68 in Paris and a series of lectures, including Jason Frank’s The People As Popular Manifestation and Kazembe Balagun’s Black Light/Black Life: Miles, Martin, Martyrs and the 68’ Moment, among several others.

May Days (Grands soirs et petits matins)
Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian
May 27, 2018, 7:30pm 
William Klein's documentary about May 1968. Shot in black and white with a hand-held camera, this is the most precious, balanced and disturbing account we have of the spirit of May '68.

What Remains of May '68 in France Today? 
Alliance Française - St. Paul (MN)
May 31, 7 PM
Macalester professor Joëlle Vitiello will present on the protests that made French leaders fear civil war or revolution and will explore the impact of the events of May 1968 on present day France through images and film. On May 31, we ask ourselves what remains of the legacy of May ’68 in France today, politically and culturally? Protest and strikes continue to be crucial parts of French daily life. Together, we’ll reflect on the artistic movement, imaginative graffiti and slogans spurred by May 1968 in France.

May 68 en images
Alliance Française - St. Paul (MN)

June 26, 6 PM
Alliance instructor Damien Sadrant will lead a special workshop for Intermediate and Advanced students exploring the slogans and images emblematic of the revolutionary time of May 68.

Film Screenings

Black Panthers
Speilberg Theatre at the Egyptian

March 25, 2018
First in a series this year of films from and on 1968, the program highlights the actions of the real Black Panthers in films by the Panthers and Agnès Varda.  
Following those is a document of a student strike at San Francisco State University, and the Los Angeles premiere of a rediscovered film by Amiri Baraka looking at cultural and political actions by African-Americans in Newark in 1968!

1968...50 Years Later
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor (MI)
April 8 - 9, 2018
Free films at the Michigan Theater: Marianne and Juliane (Die bleierne Zeit) by Margarethe von Trotta (Germany), May Fools (Milou en Mai) by Louis Malle (France), and The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Philip Kaufman.

May '68 in French and Italian Cinema
April 5 - May 3, 2018
The Department of French & Italian at the University of Minnesota is hosting a film series with five French and Italian films for the 50th anniversary of May 68.

A Grin Without A Cat (Le Fond de l’air est rouge)
Part of Revolution in the Air
Chris Marker, 1977, 180 min 
La Maison Française, Washington, D.C.
April 10, 7:00 PM    
Beginning in 1967 and spanning a decade of political upheaval, this groundbreaking documentary darts at breakneck speed between revolutionary hot spots on four continents.

May Fools (Milou en Mai)
Louis Malle, 1990, 107 min

Maison Française East Gallery, Buell Hall
Columbia University, New York, NY 
April 12, 6:30 PM
An eccentric French family meets in the country for the funeral of their matriarch (Paulette Dubost), which takes place at the same time as the 1968 student revolts in Paris.

The Cinema of May 68 (Le Cinéma de Mai 68)
Maison Française East Gallery, Buell Hall
Columbia University, New York, NY 
April 19, 6:30 PM 
A selection of short documentaries filmed in May 1968. 

In the Intense Now (No Intenso Agora)
João Moreira Salles, 2017, 127 min
Maison Française East Gallery, Buell Hall
Columbia University, New York, NY 
April 25, 6:30 PM 
A.O. Scott says viewers “will find solace, enlightenment and surprise in João Moreira Salles’s In the Intense Now, a bittersweet, ruminative documentary essay composed of footage from the era of the 1960s, accompanied by thoughtful, disarmingly personal voice-over narration […]” 

Cinétracts (1968)
Anonymous directors including Chris Marker, Jean Luc Godard & Alain Resnais;
Browning Cinema - University of Notre Dame (South Bend)
May 2, 8:00 PM
A series of documentary shorts were directed (without credit) by several famous French filmmakers (including Godard, Resnais, and Marker). Each “tract” espouses a leftist political viewpoint through the filmed depiction of real-life events, including workers’ strikes and the events of Paris in May 1968.

Godard Mon Amour (Le Redoutable)
Part of Revolution in the Air
Michel Hazanavicius, 2017, 102 min  
La Maison Française, Washington, D.C.
May 8, 7:00 PM 
Paris, 1967. Jean-Luc Godard (Louis Garrel), the leading filmmaker of his generation, is shooting La Chinoise with the woman he loves, Anne Wiazemsky (Stacy Martin), 20 years his junior. They are happy, attractive, in love. They marry. But the film’s reception unleashes a profound self-examination in Jean-Luc… 

Ciné-Tracts and Soulevement de la Jeunesse
Ciné-Tracts: Anonymous directors including Chris Marker, Jean Luc Godard & Alain Resnais; Soulevement de la Jeunesse: Maurice Lemaître, 1968, 85 min.
Logan Center for the Arts - University of Chicago
May 18, 7:00 PM
In the wake of the uprisings of May 1968, French filmmakers addressed the turmoil through short political and experimental works. Maurice Lemaître’s Soulèvement de la jeunesse juxtaposes footage of the uprisings with an abstract soundtrack of Lettrist spoken word and song. Meanwhile, filmmakers including Chris Marker, Alain Resnais, and Jean-Luc Godard anonymously created silent, political “ciné-tracts” using leftist and French modernist film techniques.

Après mai (Something In the Air) 
Part of Revolution in the Air
Olivier Assaysas, 2012, 122 min 
La Maison Française, Washington, D.C.
May 22, 7:00 PM 
Something in the Air tells the story of the after-May ‘68. It shows a group of high school students taken in by the political and creative turmoil of the times. Through romantic encounters and artistic discoveries, they will have to make definitive choices in order to find their place in these turbulent times.

Mourir à 30 ans (Half of a Life) 
Romain Goupil, 1982, 95 min
Alliance Française - St. Paul, MN
May 25, 7:00 PM
The Ciné-Club screening of the month will be this docu-journal filmed by Romain Goupil that retraces his friendship and adventures with his best friend, Michel Recanati who committed suicide in 1978. This film tells the story of two friends joined together through leftism between 1966 and 1978 in France. It is a personal tale as well as an in-depth look at the politic of France of that period. Winner of the golden camera at the Cannes Film Festival in 1982.

Mourir à 30 ans (Half of A Life) with Romain Goupil in person
Romain Goupil, 1982, 97 min  
Logan Center for the Arts - University of Chicago
June 1, 7:00 PM 
Rarely seen in the United States, Romain Goupil’s documentary chronicles his and his friends’ firsthand experiences as militant, teenage Trotskyites in 1960s France during the heyday of French student movements that culminated with the events of May 1968. Michel Recanati was a part of Goupil’s activist entourage who committed suicide in 1978. Prompted by his death, Goupil crafts a vibrantly raw autobiographical essay-style film that uses found footage and a range of sources including photographs, home movies, and interviews.

Following the film, Goupil will participate in a Q&A moderated by Jennifer Wild, Associate Professor in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies, the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, and the College.

Rumblings and Echoes: Remembering 1968
TRYLON - Minneapolis, MN

June 3 - June 24
1968 was marked by protest and revolt, civil rights strife, and the push for an end to war, famine, and colonialism. Student and worker uprisings and violence were captured on TV and depicted in movies worldwide. The films in this series trace the prelude to and reverberations of that turbulent year. The series is presented in concert with the Walker Art Center film festival The Legacy of ’68, screening in July and August.
June 3 - The Battle of Algiers / June 10 - The Spook Who Sat By the Door / June 17- La Chinoise / June 24 - The Sparrow / June 25- IF.....


Half a Life

Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian

September 16, 2018, 7:30

Perhaps the best film about the May 1968 left-wing uprising in Paris (and its dispiriting aftermath), Romain Goupil’s autobiographical documentary draws upon his own ample you-are-there film footage, shot over 12 years as events unfolded. Goupil intercuts this old footage with newer material to pay tribute to his friend and fellow revolutionary Michel Recanati, a militant leader who went missing and eventually committed suicide. This winner of the Caméra d’Or at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival is undistributed in the U.S., so don’t miss seeing it in a DCP from France that is temporarily in North America.

1968: Visions of Possibilities at Los Angeles Filmforum
Over the course of the year, Filmforum will present a variety of films reflecting the turbulent global events of 1968, films made in that time, and works reflecting on the long-term effects and disappointments of the activist efforts and violent responses.  From the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr and Robert Kennedy to the Democratic Convention and 1968 presidential election in the US, to the strikes in France in May and the Prague Spring and Soviet crushing of it, these films of and on 1968 utilize many voices and techniques to show an era that seemed lost but perhaps now cycles back to our consciousness and actions.  Series curated by Adam Hyman.

For even more film screenings on the topic, consult this page


George Washington University and the French Embassy in the U.S. are co-presenting this year’s Lafayette Debates, which will be held at the Embassy and George Washington University on April 7th and 8th, bringing together young orators from over 40 American universities for a debate competition in English on the theme of the May ’68 revolts.