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The 1968 International Film Festival of Cannes fell right in the middle of one of the most turbulent periods in French 20th century history. Fifty years later, whilst claiming to celebrate the “national” spirit of May ’68, President Emmanuel Macron threatens to destroy its residual legacy through neoliberal policies, labor reforms, and harsh new immigration laws. The Cannes of 2018 also emerges in the context of months of public sector strikes and popular demonstrations, as well as a cultural fight: Who will get to tell the story of May ’68? Who will write history? And what does a real or fake film by Jean-Luc Godard have to do with it?
The French and British governments, along with American lawmakers, are currently passing laws intended, among other things, to extend police powers to contain and control protests.
It is as if everyone is asking themselves when the violence will really start. This was the same in the demonstrations about the cost-of-living crisis in October. People were calm, especially in unions like SUD, they werent the least concerned about any hierarchization of protesters, nor were they scared of the police.
The French presidential elections brought what many were dreading, a standoff between what has long been called the authoritarian liberalism of Emmanuel Macron and the avowed fascism of Marine Le Pen.