Memories of '68

For those of you whose knowledge of the '68 rebellion in France is limited to having seen Bertolucci's The Dreamers -- and I feel sorry for you if that's the case -- there is an event coming up at Yale that definitely would be worth three days in New Haven. "Sixty Eight! Europe, Cinema, Revolution" will be running at the Whitney Humanities Center Auditorium from February 15 - 17. Whoever programmed this series and conference was really on top of the subject. In addition to some obvious choices -- Godard's La Chinoise, the SLON Collective's Far From Vietnam, Bellocchio's China Is Near -- they included an excellent representation of East European films (Jancso, Zanussi, Jukubisko), materialist experimental films (Nekes, Straub-Huillet) and other heavyweights (Varda, Pasolini, Kluge, Garrel). Except perhaps for the Godard and the Bellocchio, none of these films is easily available on disk, and none of them is shown much anywhere else. The list of participating scholars is also impressive, including Paul Arthur, Richard Pena and Thomas Elsaesser, whose work I have long admired. (I should also draw your attention to the presence of John McKay, from Yale's Slavic languages department; John is one of the moderators for the Key Theater Sunday Cinema Club and I have had the pleasure of sharing the podium with him on several occasions. He's very sharp and also quite entertaining.)

I have no idea what registration and attendance costs or where you can stay in New Haven. The webpage is not forthcoming on the former and you're on your own as far as housing is concerned. But if you can find your way there, sleep in the park or the bus station, the lineup of films is worth the trip.

By the way, although I found the Bertolucci to be an utter catastrophe, it does have several redeeming features, all of which belong to the divine Eva Green. If you really want to see a fiction film about the '68ers that catches some of the frenzy and confusion, you should seek out Philipe Garrel's Les Amants Reguliers. God only knows when this masterful film will ever get a theatrical release in the States. American distributors are much to busy catering to the talentless likes of Luc Besson.

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