Saturday, April 26, 2008

Mai 68 celebration


In 1968, in France, students started a mini revolution that became pretty successful throughout the month of May. That is why it's now referred to, by all historians, as "Mai 68". It's been 40 years now and "those who've done it" (called "Les Soixantehuitards") dream of a repeat in memory of their youth! All what's coming, though, are... anniversaries. This year, there are several exhibits, including this one that shows several photos by famous press photographer Marc Riboud who took great shots at the time. I chose this angle because you can actually see 2 photos of La Sorbonne with the actual Sorbonne in the background!

62 comments:

  1. Great photo of an exhibit recognizing a significant event--and in a location I love, in front of the Sorbonne church in a lovely place.

    Diggin' it. I'll be there soon.

    10 days...

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  2. I remember May 68. That was right before I was to leave to study in France, and was worried I wouldn't make it. Nice photo--brings back memories.

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  3. Ah, I know this spot well. In fact I had drinks one lazy afternoon while sitting in the bar/cafe to the right. The sun was setting, the air was cooling, and I was just beginning to feel as if I had never lived anywhere else. Having since acquired an understanding of what happened in May '68, I am even keener to return and have a glass or two at a table overlooking this secluded little square.

    Perhaps while the sun is setting and the air is cooling . . .

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  4. Really nice composition. Actually you think A LOT when you take a picture Eric! LOL
    Thanks for the tip, it could be interesting to see it.
    Maybe in honour of our dear President we could organize a kind of little Mai 68?! (how mean I am...) :)

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  5. Really good photo! I like the B&W of the old photos mixed with the brightly-lit Sorbonne, the cafe, and the blue sky in your photo. There's a photo exhibit about "Mai 68" at the art museum at the UC Berkeley if anyone in the Bay Area is interested.

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  6. We are fine, we are great, we're the class of '68! Yuck, I was alive then, too, and remember reading about the riots.
    I like the juxtaposition of the real and the photo making it all....a photo! Right, Magritte?

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  7. For anyone who is interested, here's a link to information about the UC Berkeley exhibit called Protest in Paris 1968: Photographs by Serge Hambourg:

    http://www.bampfa.berkeley.edu/exhibition/hambourg

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  8. I don't remember what I was doing in 1968 but I do recall some things we got to see on our evening news with Walter Cronkite. I also like the way you took this photo so that you got the actual Sorbonne in the background.

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  9. What a time it was. Protests all over the world, and with good reason. Now would be a fine time to revisit that "we won't take it anymore" mentality.

    I love looking in the B&W photos for the details and finding them again in color. I want to be sitting in that cafe today.

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  10. Very cool photo, Eric. Such a grand composition. I wonder if people in the picture would recognize themselves as being the same person, not physically, but spiritually and emotionally. (I've been introspecting lately!!:)

    Thanks so much for sharing such a neat memory, history lesson, and photo!

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  11. Great contrast between the old black & whites and the sun on the Sorbonne. Another great capture.

    I was 9 years old, probably juggling, which i was crazy about, riding on my bike or scooter, trying on my new psychadelic trouser (flares) suit and blissfully unaware of all of that.

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  12. Luv' that one! Kinda looks like http://parisavant.com showing old scenes and nowadays pictures. I could have been on the '68 picture, but I was protesting in Washington by the time ;-)

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  13. Ah, Mai 68... Latin Quarter ... memories!!!

    I was a little kid in May 68, so I don't remember much of it, really, but I do remember when they were chanting "CRS SS..CRS..SS" (CRS is the name for the French riot police)

    For a kid my age, at the time, it was pretty incredible and exciting to see all these people take to the street and to be in the middle of it all.

    Actually, there was quite a bit of unrest in the months that preceded May 68, and even the year before, if memory serves.

    Back then, we were going to school in the 5th (Tonton, shut up!;), just a few of blocks away from the universities.

    My parents told me later that they came to pick us up at school wearing a motorcycle helmet because "you never knew when you were gonna find yourself in the middle of a demonstration," and the riot police back then were not kidding around! You could say they were not discriminating against anyone back then, in that they hit pretty much everything that moved with equal passion. Hit first, asked questions later. Tear gaz everywhere (cough, cough), damn, that stuff was nasty!!!

    Meanwhile the students were turning cars upside down to make barricades and setting stuff on fire. They were digging out the cobblestones, too.

    The school had to close for almost a month because it became too dangerous for the kids to come to class.

    Philippe Labro (young journalist at the time) took great shots of May '68, too. I have a little book with some of the incredible original shots he took, thanks to eBay ;) Oh, I wish I could go to these exhibits!

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  14. [[[[[Katie]]]]]]!!!! <-- that's a hug.

    Thanks for the info, I'm definitely going to that one! Awesome!!!

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  15. To marry the historical B&W images with the modern day scene is extremely striking. I echo Petrea's comments and sentiment about the times and motivation then Unfotunatley,I was born towards the end of this era. Strangely I feel slightly out of step with the colour image, and would love to jump into the B&W, riots and all.

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  16. Just a link for those of you who want to explore May 68

    http://tinyurl.com/68ku4c

    Have a good WE everybody!

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  17. Wow Tomate -- I've never received a blog hug before! Glad to share the info; and I'm pretty sure that the exhibit at UCB is in the free section of the museum. No excuse not to go. I'm going to the exhibit this weekend, so maybe I'll see you there!

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  18. love the shot...one of my favorite areas to hang in paris, especially so because it's across the way from the luxembourg gardens...ah, to be there now breathing in the springtime!

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  19. Anonyme, thank you for the link to ParisAvant.com. I think I'm going to spend the weekend there!

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  20. Thanks for your contributions, Katie and Tomate, I checked the sites to which you provided links, and they were great!

    I was nearly 16 in May 68. I was out of school for at least three weeks, and when we went back, there were no more uniforms! (I went to a catholic school.) The June session of the Baccalaureat was never held that year.

    It was definitely a rather exciting month. For a good film where the action takes place during May '68, check Louis Malle's May Fools (Milou en Mai), which, I just realized, was never released on DVD in the U.S. and, thus, is not available on Netflix.

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  21. Another amusing photo of another super interesting exhibit in Paris. This one is a Must See isn't it?!


    It's impressive how many times Mai 68 is quoted even nowadays. Just yesterday I was reading a music column in the papers and there was an issue about the White Album, from The Beatles of course, saying how Johnn Lennon was inpsired by Mai 68 when he composed "Revolution".

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  22. Clever! And the Sorbonne is a beautiful building.

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  23. Lucio, a glass in that place would be a fine idea.

    Anyone...?

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  25. Tomate Farcie - Your memories transported me to the riotous scene.

    http://fr.youtube.com/watch?v=qbhxy-A22aQ

    Here is yet another link. The manifestation étudiante de Mai 68 is captured in video form. Cars are smouldering and overturned just as you described!

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  26. I'm older than you think and I remember it well. I was in High School but enrolled in a High School Studies Program at MIT and went to school six days a week. Talk of "Les Soixantehuitards" was in every conversation everywhere, college campuses were ready to explode, and there were the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy and the election of Richard Nixon. They were very dark days.

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  27. Anniversaries : May 68, 40 years ago! When I was a child, my parents talked to me that as they planned to get married in Paris in June 68, the 'May 68 events' caused them a lot of problems : no more gas for cars, difficulties to book anything etc... But they finally managed to get married (June 1st) and are still married now and then had two marvelous children;)). I remember my mother always refered to May 68 as a time that brings a lot to french women. Thank you so much!

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  28. I know it must have been awful. Well i was in my 9 year old bubble, having moved from one area to another in the UK, changing schools, making new friends, my parents starting a new business so it was happening inside my little world. Totally oblivious i was and therefore, on that basis, i thought i'd share some of the good things of 1968 with you.

    Top Songs of 1968

    1."Judy In Disguise" ... John Fred & His Playboy Band
    2."Green Tambourine" ... Lemon Pipers
    3."Love Is Blue" ... Paul Mauriat
    4."The Dock of the Bay" ... Otis Redding
    5."Honey" ... Bobby Goldsboro
    6."Tighten Up" ... Archie Bell and the Drells
    7."Mrs. Robinson" ... Simon and Garfunkel
    8."This Guy's in Love With You" ... Herb Alpert
    9."Grazing in the Grass" ... Hugh Masekela
    10."Hello, I Love You" ... The Doors
    Top Movies of 1968

    1. The Graduate
    2. Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
    3. Gone With the Wind (reissue)
    4. The Valley of the Dolls
    5. The Odd Couple
    6. Planet of the Apes
    7. Rosemary's Baby
    8. The Jungle Book
    9. Yours, Mine and Ours
    10. The Green Berets

    - Taken from www.multied.com

    Good memories?

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  29. Thanks a lot Lynn! Now I really feel old!

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  30. Lynn ! Those are terrific songs! I created a playlist with them and imbeded it on my blog in the sidebar. I even labeled it Lynn's List. You just have to wait a second until it loads on the page. Enjoy the positive side of the 60's everybody!
    http://cpaphil-vintagepostcards.blogspot.com

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  31. Katie - and others - i thoroughly recommend you to go to Marie's blog, not just because she was kind enough to honour my list (thank you!) but it is soooooo interesting.

    You and me both, Michael. Groan.

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  32. p.s. Psssst! Michael...! See yesterday's comments...!

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  33. What a beautiful composition. It really juxtaposes the turmoil of the past with the serenity of the present.

    The beauty of the present enhances my excitement, as it is only 8 days until my departure for Paris!

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  34. I have no sound on the old laptop i'm borrowing Alexandra, but i can hear them in my head, i love them!

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  35. Lynn, re: yesterday's comments, you are mischievous aren't you?!

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  36. Elisabeth, here is a link to a review of that movie by Ebert. It looks like you can rent or buy the movie from that site, as well.

    http://tinyurl.com/4sepva

    I can confirm that after May 68, we no longer had to wear a uniform, even in public schools. Actually, in public schools, we didn't wear a complete uniform, but we had to wear some kind of frock over our clothing, and they did away with that, thank goodness. Also, they changed the curriculum and introduced "modern math" around that time.

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  37. Marie, and anonyme, thanks for the links! Great stuff!! :)

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  38. Lynn, here you go, the Salut Les Copains hit parade of Mai 1968, in France, according to the Novel Obs.


    http://tinyurl.com/5a9pzd


    There are videos, and the audio links for some of the songs. Be patient with the links, though, some may take a while to load.

    ***Warning*** some of that music is really pretty awful !! Still kind of fun to listen to.

    Don't ya just love the Internet?! :D

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  39. I had Jury Duty. So, I had to play catch up.

    Lucio, you are such a romantic!

    Tomate, that was really interesting. "Hit first, asked questions later. Tear gaz everywhere (cough, cough), damn, that stuff was nasty!!!" That was a good way to describe it.

    Eric, That is a beautiful song and it still sounds modern to me.

    BTW, Guille, thinks my music choices are square.

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  40. Tomate! Je suis comme un poisson dans l'eau! The hit parade is fabulous. I'm turning into a blogaholic.

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  41. Tomate thanks but i've got no sound on this borrowed laptop!

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  42. Everyone is telling their age -- At our age it helps to slip into something more comfortable, like DENIAL! Well, at least it works for me.

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  43. "At our age it helps to slip into something more comfortable, like DENIAL!" LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL ! I love that!

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  44. Lol Lois!!! Me too actually normally, but well, what the hell.

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  45. I remember this well. Your shot showing the black and white photos and the Sorbonne - now - is so good. I learn a lot from your photography, Eric. Particularly to bend down and look up!

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  46. Very cool, Eric - nice juxtaposition of the old and the new!

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  47. Lois, "square"?! Did I tell you such a thing? NO!! I told you that you loved French singers famous in France in the 80's and that was weird to me. It's not the same. LOL
    I was surprised that you loved Etienne Daho, Indochine or Marc Lavoine!

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  48. Eric: Excellent song and nice film!

    Lynn: Sad to hear that, lucky though that you can listen to them that way!

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  49. Nice work getting both shots together like that. Love the church in the back ground. Elaine Cooke

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  50. Merci for this photo, Eric. It's a great shot and very evocative for me. I'm an American soixantehuitard, who was working and studying in Paris at the time -- and what a time it was!
    Discovered your blog recently -- love it!

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  51. Love the color and the contrast of this shot. The yesterday and today. Beautiful.

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  52. I agree with the post above and I will find more information from google.

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