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Film Series: Commemorating May 1968

Image: "Something in the Air" directed by Olivier Assayas

Several venues all over the country will be celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of May 68. This article will be updated as more events will be announced.

Here’s a write up from the New Yorker about the cycle at the FIAF and the Metrograph.

Columbia University, Maison Française NYC
April 12 to 25, 2018

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 Univeristy, New York, NY 
April 19, 6:30 PM 
A selection of short documentaries filmed in May 1968.
Films in French without English subtitles.

In the Intense Now (No Intenso Agora)
João Moreira Salles, 2017, 127 min
Maison Française East Gallery, Buell Hall
Columbia Univeristy, 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 […]” 

All films are in French with English subtitles.

More information available through Maison Française

UnionDocs Center for Documentary Art, NYC
"Frozen Revolutions"
April 27, 2018

UnionDocs presents an evening of screenings and discussion examining the French labor movement with Mitchell Abidor, author of May Made Me: An Oral History of the 1968 Uprising in France, and programmer Steve Macfarlane.

Alongside clips from the rare and newly digitized Cinétracts, UnionDocs will show The Return to Work at the Wonder Factory, a ten-minute film showing an enraged worker refusing to return to work in June 1968.

Here's a write up from the New York Times about the program.

The Return to Work at the Wonder Factory
1968, 10 min
UnionDocs, Brooklyn, NY 
April 27, 7:30 PM 
In May of 1968 work starts again, unions pretend to claim victory. At the Wonder factory everything is also back to normal. Suddenly a woman dares to rebel, she says that she does not want to return to work.
In French without English subtitles.

1968, 90 min
UnionDocs, Brooklyn, NY
April 27, 7:30 PM 
A series of 41 documentary shorts, directed by several famous French filmmakers and each running between two and four minutes. 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.
In French with English subtitles.

More information available through Union Docs

French Institute Alliance Française, NYC
"Remembering May 1968"
May 8 to 29, 2018

What happened in May 1968 and in the years after? 50 years later, what are the lessons of that era of political and civil unrest? Join us for a series of French documentaries on these legendary times that resulted in far-reaching social and political change across the globe.

Les années 68
Don Kent, 2018, 2 x 90 min
FIAF Florence Gould Hall
55 East 59th Street, New York, NY 10022
May 8, 4:00 PM Part 1 (La Vague)
May 8, 7:30 PM Part 2 (L'explosion)
Part 2 can be enjoyed without seeing Part 1. 7:30pm screening followed by a panel discussion.
A time capsule full of evocative sights and sounds, narrated by leading historians and political activists, Les années 68 effortlessly connects apparently discrete events to form a blazingly timely analysis of a decade that shaped the way we live now.

Tous au Larzac
Christian Rouaud, 2011, 120 min
FIAF Florence Gould Hall
55 East 59th Street, New York, NY 10022
May 15, 4 & 7:30 PM 
Tous au Larzac weaves present-day interviews with veteran activists, archival footage of mass protests, and gorgeous photography of the Larzac’s windswept limestone plateaus to tell an inspiring tale of non-violent resistance to obtuse governmental action.

Feminist Documentaries
Carole Roussopoulos, 1975 & 1976, 46 min & 55 min
FIAF Florence Gould Hall
55 East 59th Street, New York, NY 10022
May 22, 4 & 7:30 PM 
Swiss filmmaker Carole Roussopoulos was a pioneer who used newly-available portable video technology to give voice to a wide range of social movements and underrepresented groups in France and around the world. Join us for a rare screening of two of Roussopoulos’ documentaries, highlighting feminist actions in the aftermath of ’68 : The Prostitutes of Lyon Speak & Maso and Miso Go Boating.

Mourir à trente ans
Romain Goupil, 1982, 97 min
FIAF Florence Gould Hall
55 East 59th Street, New York, NY 10022
May 29, 4 & 7:30 PM
7:30pm screening followed by Q&A with director Romain Goupil.
Through the story of his friendship with Michel Recanati, a communist student leader who died by his own hand in 1978, filmmaker and activist Romain Goupil crafts an idiosyncratic, moving portrait of the generation that took to the streets in May ’68, capturing the surprising mix of anti-authoritarian zaniness, dogmatic political radicalism, and bursts of despair that characterized these youthful idealists.

All films are in French with English subtitles.

More information available through FIAF

Metrograph, NYC
"May '68: The Struggle Continues"
May 11 to 25, 2018

Beginning May 11, Metrograph will present "May '68: The Struggle Continues," six programs with work by Jean-Luc Godard, Philippe Garrel, and more. Fifty years ago, in the merry month of May, Charles de Gaulle’s French Fifth Republic was teetering on the edge of out-and-out upheaval, as workers went on strike and students took to the streets, erecting paving stone barricades as though it were 1789 all over again. The aim was nothing less than a new world; the result was, in the final analysis, mostly more of the same—though an entire generation would be marked for life by the moment’s sense of boundless potential, as well as the crippling comedown that followed. Movies were the medium of the ’68 generation, and so its impression is felt acutely both in films made in the heat of the moment, as well as those revisiting it from the distance of years. In tribute to this important anniversary is a selection of works, many not screened in the US since a 2003 program, and newly translated for this series, delivering to the tumultuous present something of the dizzying possibility and devastating destitution of that long-ago-and-still-present half-made revolution.

A Film Like Any Other (Un film comme des autres)
Jean-Luc Godard, 1968, 108 min
Metrograph, New York, NY
May 13, 1.10 PM & 5:30 PM
Godard’s farewell—temporary, as it happened—to working as an individual director before submerging himself into the hivemind Dziga-Vertov group, this is a provocative, fearless, frustrating diptych film, wildly inventive (or deliberately aggressive and challenging, depending on point of view) in its use of sound, image, and structure (identical sequences repeated twice), is comprised of footage of students and workers conversing outside striking factories, about the aims of the ’68 uprising.

Hervé Le Roux, 1996, 192 min
Metrograph, New York, NY
Showtimes coming soon
In the summer of ’68, as France returned to a normalcy that for many was a death sentence, film students captured the reactions of workers at the end of a strike at a factory in Saint-Ouen, among them an inconsolably angry young woman howling her refusal to return to work. Twenty-eight years later, filmmaker Le Roux embarked on an epic search to discover what had happened to this unreconciled woman, one face in the crowd of hundreds, upon whose image the director begins to lovingly fixate over the course of an exhaustive hunt that reveals much of France in the mid- 90s.

Regular Lovers
Philippe Garrel, 2005, 183 min
Metrograph, New York, NY
May 24, 8.30 PM
After decades of distortion and misinformation on both the French right and left, to further agendas and re-write history, Garrel felt compelled to portray the May ’68 period as it was experienced by someone who was there, and correct the historical record for future generations. François is our guide (played by Garrel’s son Louis), a young poet who goes from the exhilaration of the barricades to the exhaustion of drug addiction and aimlessness.

All films are in French with English subtitles.

More screenings and information available through Metrograph

Anthology Film Archives, NYC
"1968 On Screen"

May 24 to June 4, 2018

This extensive film series shines a spotlight on 1968 and the extraordinary political and social events that took place throughout the world in that most tumultuous year. Presented in concert with Metrograph, which will host screenings focusing on the May ’68 protests and their aftermath in France, “1968 On Screen” focuses its attention on events elsewhere.

More information available through Anthology

Embassy of France - La Maison Française, DC
"Revolution in the Air"
April 10 to May 22, 2018

1968 was a year of deep social and political change worldwide. In France, the Spring of 1968 witnessed the largest social movement ever experienced by the country in contemporary history. A movement that would culturally, socially and politically transform French society. To commemorate the half-centennial of May '68, the Film Series Revolution in the Air  features three films - and three different perspectives - tracing back the events that shaped a generation.

A Grin Without A Cat (Le Fond de l’air est rouge)
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. 

Godard Mon Amour (Le Redoutable)
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… 

Après mai (Something 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.

All films are in French with English subtitles.

More information available through La Maison Française

National Gallery of Art, Washington DC
"Paris, May '68: Zanzibar and Philippe Garrel"
May 12 to 27, 2018

During the volatile late 1960s in Paris, the filmmaking collective known as Zanzibar began creating outsider underground movies, many of which are now lost or neglected. The group (consisting of Philippe Garrel, Jackie Raynal, Serge Bard, Daniel Pommereulle, Olivier Mosset, Frédéric Pardo, Patrick Deval, Caroline de Bendern, Zouzou, and one or two others) resembled a clique of Warhol Factoryesque characters — artists, writers, actors, and models, a few of whom had actually worked at the Factory. Though all were cinephiles, jointly they had only modest movie-making experience. Yet the Zanzibar films, with their refreshing lack of regard for revenue, are infused with the countercultural energy and restlessness of May 1968. The first three films of this cycle are:

Serge Bard, 1968, 75 min
National Gallery of Art, East Building Auditorium, Washington, D.C.
May 12, 2:30 PM
A student of sociology, Serge Bard was dissatisfied with his university life and decided to drop out. In the process, he began experimenting with a movie camera. Foreshadowing the growing spirit of revolt, Bard cast in this early film the artist and activist Alain Jouffroy who plays a professor lecturing to a nearly empty classroom on the necessity of revolution.

Le Révélateur preceded by Les enfants désaccordés
Philippe Garrel, 1968, 67 min  
National Gallery of Art, East Building Auditorium, Washington, D.C.
May 12, 4:30 PM 
Silent and dreamlike, Le Révélateur was filmed in the Black Forest by cinematographer Michel Fournier. “[Director Philippe] Garrel permitted the greatest liberty to improvise, with minimal lighting and an extremely sensitive film stock.” Bernadette Lafont and Laurent Terzieff play a couple who wander the landscape with their young child, menaced by some unknown force.

Les amants réguliers preceded by Actua 1
Philippe Garrel, 2005, 178 min 
National Gallery of Art, East Building Auditorium, Washington, D.C.
May 19, 2:30 PM 
A participant observer in the events of May ’68, Philippe Garrel used his son Louis as his leading actor and the classically trained Parisian cinematographer William Lubtchansky — a favorite among the directors of the French new wave — to shoot this poetic evocation of the era.

All films are in French with English subtitles.

More films and information available through National Gallery of Art

Chicago University
"50 years later: Memories of May '68"
May 18 to June 1, 2018

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.

Mourir à 30 ans (Half of A Life)
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.

All films are in French with English subtitles.

More information available through Film Studies Center, Chicago University