09/14/2018.- The 63rd edition of the Valladolid International Film Festival will be commemorating the 50th anniversary of the May 68 events in France: the revolts that shook the country as their main protagonists attempted to change the world. The Festival will screen two documentaries produced in France that illustrate this significant movement: Jean-Luc Magneron’s Mai 68, la belle ouvrage, from 1969, and La traversée (On the Road in France), directed by Romain Goupil in 2018.
The May ’68 events were a movement that broke out on 22 March 1968 as young students at the University of Nanterre in Paris stood up against the war in Vietnam and several other issues. A month later, protests had spread across the whole of France, triggering off the most important wave of strikes ever in French history.
The consequences of those events were reflected across the whole of French society, where labour conditions changed and advances took place in the areas of freedom of speech and sexual liberation —developments that came to be generally termed “the spirit of ‘68”. The Valladolid Festival will be showing two documentary films against the backdrop of this anniversary: one shot in the heat of those events and another one that looks at them in retrospect after five decades.
Directed by Jean-Luc Magneron, Mai 68, la belle ouvrage was shot during the Paris protests. Its original title was Répression and its goal was to bear witness to the police crackdown as seen on the frontline of riots. The documentary begins by showing the well-known speech by President Charles de Gaulle on the law enforcement response to the revolt and includes valuable testimonies by politicians and intellectuals (students, artists, etc.) Mai 68, la belle ouvrage screened in the first edition of the Cannes Film Festival’s Directors’ Fortnight in 1969.
In La traversée (On the Road in France), French filmmaker Romain Goupil is joined by one of the leaders of the May ’68 protests: the former Green MEP Dany Cohn-Bendit (aka “Danny the Red”). In the style of a road movie, the two former comrades during the ’68 protests resolve to travel across France in order to assess the changes that have taken place in the country ever since the commemorated events. As they observe, listen and debate, they gain insights into the contemporary situation in France: its crises and hopes, its ordinary heroes and its executioners, its innovative minds, etc.