Cannes 2022: “The Super-8 Years”, Annie Ernaux, daily archaeologist

Each family conceals abandoned images, amateur films that have punctuated the great moments but also the little extras that weave existence. One day comes the desire to see them again. What was dormant is unearthed and the matter of time reappears. This is what happened, common experience, to Annie Ernaux, pushed by her grandchildren curious to see them. Her son, David, put them together and asked her to tell the story. “I did not think that this film, The Super-8 Years, would be projected, one day. Even less in Cannes”, she says moved, before the presentation at La Quinzaine des Réalisateurs.

The 1970s roll by. Annie Ernaux, simple sentences, smooth style, comments in her frail voice on the stages of her married life, her own place in society, returned to her conscience as a class defector, introduced, by her marriage, into a bourgeoisie where she feels moved. The move to Annecy, the trips to 504, the discovery of vacations by the sea, in Ardèche for the utopia of returning to the land, in Allende’s Chile for the socialist experience, in Morocco without mixing with the population, in Spain, in Portugal, in the Albania of Enver Hodja, in the Moscow of the Soviets.

Slideshow of nostalgia

Superimposed, the traces still visible, now erased, of this prodigious decade. Winter sports and the purchase of a studio in the mountains. Under the images of apparent happiness, with children frolicking, Annie Ernaux distinguishes the first signs of the dislocation of her couple, the hidden disputes, her loneliness at the time. And behind the one that shows nothing, the palimpsest of his desire to write, in secret. To say everything about the condition of women.

→ ARCHIVE. Annie Ernaux, a sensitive crossing of the decades

Slideshow of nostalgia, archeology of melancholy. Super-8 films tell a different individual and collective story. These imperfect drafts bear witness to an era, a social environment. They immortalize moments that will never come back. They freeze the past, crystallize time.

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