Mourir à 30 ans (Half a Life)
50 Years Later: Memories of May '68 marks the events that brought nine million French students and workers together in a general strike and a unified uprising against capitalism, American imperialism, and Gaulism. This series explores the visual language of politics and protest, at once experimental and anonymous in a diverse array of “tracts” that used filmmaking as a direct, revolutionary action. We also explore the memory of May 1968 itself through Romain Goupil’s film Mourir à 30 ans, whose blend of home movies, archival footage, and interviews documents the energy of protest and the afterlife of revolution that at times proves fatal.
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. Drawing on Recanati’s life trajectory to structure the film, Goupil succeeds in evoking the implosion of the leftist movement in 1960s and 1970s France while also constructing a filmic meditation on the transition from adolescence to adulthood during this tumultuous historical moment. Introduced by Jennifer Wild, associate professor in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies.
(1982, 97 min., DCP, courtesy of the Institut Français in Paris)
Co-sponsored by the Counter Cinema/Counter Media Project at the Center of the Study of Gender and Sexuality, and the France Chicago Center. Supported by the Cultural Service at the Consulate General of France in Chicago.