Retour à Reims (fragments)Director: Jean-Gabriel Périot; Erzählstimme: Adèle Haenel. FR, 2021, 80 min. French with English subtitles
As an art form dominated by middle class sensibilities, most of cinema has been detached from working class audiences, protagonists, and topics for quite some time. Jean-Gabriel Périot's quasi-adaptation of Didier Eribon's bestselling memoir Returning to Reims reminds us how the medium has not only always sought closeness to the oppressed, but also documented the history of workers, women, and all the exploited at the same time.
As we hear Adèle Haenel reading passages from Eribon's reckoning with his own origins and his analysis of the oppression of minorities, we are also confronted with archival footage in which those normally overlooked utter their own sentiments and speak as freely as they possibly can. Périot, who has made some of the most engaging work using archival material in recent years, edits together footage from reports, interviews, documentaries, and fiction films into a fierce expostulation and shows that cinema, as opposed to politicians, truly can give a voice to the oppressed. What emerges is the narrative of an injustice passed on from generation to generation, ultimately leading to the confusing mess that has been French politics in the last few years, with only one way out: revolution! (Patrick Holzapfel)
With Jean-Gabriel Périot in attendance