In May 1968, France went through unprecedented social upheaval which also affected the Festival of Cannes. Led by François Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard, the students invited themselves to this Palace, forcing it to close early, at noon on May 19th. Forty years later, Cannes Classics revisits this chapter in history, screening some of the films that were canceled that year, including 13 Jours en France by Claude Lelouch.
"Cannes Classics is a selection of restored films. If the old celluloid is ignored, the memory of these films will be wiped out, and they will no longer exist," warns Thierry Frémaux. "It is important to get them out of the archives, restore them, screen them, and give them a new life."
This is what was prescribed for 13 Jours en France, by Claude Lelouch. He and a few filmmaking friends covertly recorded what was going on around them and inside them. They immortalized the thirteen days that shook their world, for you to see today.
"I am delighted," marveled Claude Lelouch, "that forty years later, almost to the day, a second life is being given to a film that is very dear to me. I would like to dedicate this screening to those who are no longer with us: co-director François Reichenbach, Guy Gilles, and one of the Jansen brothers. Salutations to Pierre Willemin, as well, who is still alive. 13 Jours en France depicts France a few days before the events occurred, and gives a few clues as to what aroused them."