The Films of May ’68

Guy Debord – The Society of the spectacle AKA La Société du spectacle (1973)

This film by Guy E. Debord is based on his 1967 book of the same title both of which convey ideas about the consumer capitalism’s mode of production and the effects on everyday life. Though both sources use a different means of communication they both powerfully convey the ideas of the situationists. I wont rant on about the ideas contain within this film which are quite profound and have influenced heavily on the Anti-Capitalist movement and post-structuralism through thinkers like Jean Baudrillard. The structure of the film itself is a series of shots from Hollywood films to soviet “collective hero” film experiments to soft-core porn(nothing past topless) to archival footage of historical events(e.g. May 68 revolt in France) and representations of everyday life. Read More »

Marin Karmitz – Coup pour coup AKA Blow for Blow (1972)

Synopsis by Clarke Fountain
Coup Pour Coup is a film about a worker’s strike at a textile plant, and is written and enacted by the actual striking workers. This film was a collaborative and collective effort. Videotapes of upcoming scenes were discussed by the workers, and camera angles as well as dramatic refinements were agreed on before any film was exposed. Given that the film presents the worker’s point of view and is a largely amateur effort, reviewers found it surprisingly effective as a dramatic piece. One interesting feature of the film, and of the strike itself, is that it was organized and led by women. While there had been male union leaders, they were bypassed or ousted for their lack of leadership, understanding, or negotiating skills. Read More »

Jean Eustache – La maman et la putain (1973)

A few days of a dandyish French intellectual in his late 20s named Alexandre (Jean-Pierre Leaud), who’s living with and supported by his lover, Marie (Bernadette Lafont); she’s in her mid-30s and runs a small boutique. In the first scene he borrows a neighbor’s car and tracks down a former girlfriend, Gilberte (Isabelle Weingarten), who’s just started a new semester at the Sorbonne, and tries to persuade her to marry him, only to discover that she’s just agreed to marry someone else. (We and Alexandre briefly glimpse Gilberte with her husband, played by Eustache, toward the end of the film, in the liquor section of a department store.) After hanging out with an equally idle friend (Jacques Renard) at the Deux Magots cafe, Alexandre follows a young woman after she leaves a nearby table, asks for her phone number, and scores; the remainder of the film is devoted to his courting of her. Read More »

Jean-Luc Magneron – Mai 68, la belle ouvrage (1969)

Quote:
Mostly talking heads interviewed about the state violence they witnessed or endured during the month of May and June 68 in Paris. Nurses, students in medicine or else, passers-by, journalists, a psychiatrist, etc… Read More »

Diane Kurys – Cocktail Molotov (1980)

Synopsis by Sandra Brennan
This youthful drama centers on a group of teens struggling to become adults without losing their youthful aspirations. It begins as Caron leaves the pressure of her home life for Venice in hopes of finding spontaneity and fun. She is followed by her boyfriend Lebas and his friend Cluzet. Lebas hopes that he will convince her to go home. Trouble begins after his car and her stuff are stolen in Italy. When they learn that workers and students have been rioting in Paris, they quickly return, eager to join the fray. Read More »

Christine Pascal – Zanzibar (1989)

A French drama around cinema centered around the cinema, love and sexual passion and how it may be translated to film. Read More »

Pierre Clémenti – Visa de censure n°X AKA Certificate No. X (1967)

Quote:
Shot in 1967 but not released until 1975, actor Pierre Clémenti’s acid-infused experimental whirlwind of color and music featuring a who’s who of the French 60s underground. Read More »