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Still Returning to Reims

Returning to Reims (Fragments)

Jean-Gabriel Périot / FR, 2021 / 83 min.

Archive material and film fragments tell the history of the French working class from the 1950s to today. Woefully little has changed, except that the former Communists are now voting in large numbers for Front National party.

poster IDFA 2021

Moving up the social ladder is all but impossible in the rigid class system that still defines life in France. But despite being working class himself, the narrator in Returning to Reims (Fragments) has managed to escape the fate of working in a factory from the age of 13, living in a drab housing development, and being burdened by illiteracy, alcoholism, and premature death. He runs away from the place where he grew up and only returns following the death of his father, whom he hated. It’s not until his mother starts talking to him about her life that he realizes the extent to which his father was shaped by his surroundings and conditions.

Returning to Reims (Fragments) is based on the eponymous memoir by Didier Eribon, published in 2009, but this is much more than the life story of one individual. The succession of film fragments, news footage, and scenes from documentaries illustrates and explains the development of the working class as a whole. Inveterate Communists may now form an important base for the extreme right-wing party Front National, but that’s due more to loss of identity than xenophobia.

This is part of

Details

Director

Jean-Gabriel Périot

Production year

2021

Country

FR

Original title

Returning to Reims (Fragments)

Length

83 min.

Language

French

Format

DCP

Part of

IDFA 2021

Documentary lovers, keep November 17 to 28 free in your calendar. The International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam presents its 34th edition in cinemas throughout Amsterdam, including several special programs in Eye.

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