MAY 68. Commemoration, commemoration, commemoration !

Article published on June 10, 2008
Article published on June 10, 2008
A blow of revolution blows on Paris’ streets. Black and white pictures inundate all the heads. Young disheveled long hair men, premises of bell-bottom trousers, determined gait teenagers : all are ready to fight with the police... It happened 40 years ago in the Latin neighborhood in the French capital.
May 68, the time when the sacred triangle of Sorbonne, Saint-Michel, Saint-Germain des près used to turn into the rallying point of French youth seeking for freedom and recognition. It was the time when the slogans “ it is forbidden to forbid”, “CRSS-S-S” or “under pavement, sands” resonate with the music of Jacques Dutronc, Charles Aznavour or the Rolling Stones.

Back to 2008

spread all across the French capital, exhibits, cinematic retrospectives, posters, books and even comics are at the center of the attention of the pro and even the anti “68 nostalgia”. The current French president, Nicolas Sarkozy had declared on April 29, 2007 that we should “get ride of the spirit of May 68”... Sarkozy, one of the most emblematic heirs of this 68 moral liberalization : son of a divorce couple, three time married, father of three children from two different mothers... His new friend the philosopher André Glucksman, one of the main figure of the 1968 events, decided to write down, with his son Raphaël, a long explanation named “May 68 explained to Nicolas Sarkozy”.

May 68 also means rock revolution. Beats, musics, noises of every kind, even screams. That is on that topic that the exhibit “soundtrack of May 68” in the 18th arrondissement city hall has been created. Around pictures of that time where the guests wander to the beats of the 1960s of Janis Joplin, the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Serge Reggiani of Sheila.

At the same time, what will be called afterwards “Nouvelle vague”movement, appeared in movie theaters. Cannes was set on fire and was catching up with Paris, led by François Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godart, Roman Polanski, Claude Chabrol… These “Regards croisés” are shown for two months at Champo movie theater, a few minutes away from the Sorbonne. Directors, historians, critics analyze the causes and the heritage of this end of 1960s period. At the same time, the Cinémathèque française is living one more time its student revolution. From June 4 to 29, pictures of a libertarian youth sometimes utopist filmed by Godart, Doillon or Goupil and get back to the memory of a time of those who are under 20 can't know. 68 inspires as well movie makers who weren't even born at that time. Released on May 21, 2008 in France « Born in 68 » recounts, through the life of a group of friends, from their revolted youth, their adulthood in a hippie community and their disenchantment in the 21th century society they don't acknowledge the values.

Ideological or not, passionate or not, this historical May 68 keeps resonating in the heads of the May 08 citizens.


Photo : Jonandsamfreecycle/FlickR