cannes 1968

The 2008 Cannes Film Festival is now over, the awards have been doled out, and the filmmakers, celebrities, critics, distributors, paparazzi, and everyone else have slouched back to their countries of origin, nursing a 12-day hangover of glitz, garishness, and grotesquerie.

But the 61st Cannes fest was also an anniversary year. A little over 40 years ago almost to the day, the 1968 incarnation of the film festival was embroiled in social turmoil, mirroring the student and working class struggles blowing up in the streets of Paris and elsewhere across Europe. Godard, Truffaut, Malle, Forman, Polanski, and others shut the festival down. No doubt, the outrage that these filmmakers felt (especially Godard and Truffaut) was sincere and passionate… but especially in Godard’s case, the outrage was mixed with a more volatile emotional cocktail as well. You can read more about the revolution on the beach here. And watch some footage of the protest below. Unfortunately, it’s not subtitled in English, but the anger is loud and clear. Watch for actor Jean-Pierre Leaud.

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