Saturday, May 03, 2008

May 1968

May 3, 1968 was the beginning of the student demonstrations in France, following the closing of the campus at Nanterre.

I was just a carefree American kid at the time, unaware of the political and social upheaval in France. But later, as a French major in college, I read a gripping account of "les événements de mai soixante-huit" in a book whose author and title I have forgotten. With a plethora of information appearing this spring in the news and on the web, trying to find that book has been an exercise in frustration. Anyone who can help me?

In any case, the 40th anniversary has provoked a dizzying array of retrospectives, commemorative books, debates and exhibits.

The Conseil Regional de l'Ile de France is displaying a series of billboard-sized photographs of "Mai 68" on the façade of the building, across from the St. Francois Xavier metro station.
Here is a selection that I photographed.

Godard and Aragon

Barricade in the Quartier Latin
Strike in Asniere

"We're fed up" -- a worker on strike
Clamoring for the 40-hour work week and four weeks' paid vacation
Then after laboriously editing my photos, I found out that they are all viewable on the website of the Conseil Regional de l'Ile de France.
For a different view (highlighting the violence and destruction, fewer social and political reform images), check the New York Times slide show.

The posters from the era are striking as well.


Jay Livingston said...

Ah, the posters. Somewhere I still have my copy of "Les Murs Ont la Parole" -- a large-format collection of posters from '68.

Unknown said...

so you liked my slideshow... hehehe... a.

Polly-Vous Francais said...

That poster is worth resurrecting. Probably worth a few euros.

Yeah, actually I thought it was interesting to compare the 2 slideshows -- you'd think it was two different movements. I guess opinion still is are divided -- was is a "movement" or "events"?

But did no one notice my bad pun? I din't even see it until after I hit the "publish" button.

Polly-Vous Francais said...

Update: Here's a great editorial by Serge Schemann in the nyt

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