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Annie Ernaux - Die Super-8 Jahre  (The Super 8 Years, Les années Super-8)
France 2022

Opening 29 Dec 2022

Directed by: Annie Ernaux, David Ernaux-Briot
Writing credits: Annie Ernaux

This intimate autobiographical art film is a testament to all amateur photographers and camerapersons and Super 8mm cameras that bridged the gap for hobbyists and professionals alike. In 1972 Philippe Ernaux surprised wife Annie and sons David and Eric by filming their normal returning home with a new Super 8 camera, continuing until 1981. The blooming documentarian had a steady hand and good eye for framing subject matter. Philippe’s initial home movie topics grew from panning familiar rooms’ furniture and wallpapers, thus branding them as newcomers, to the bourgeois, to Christmas mornings chaos; Annie’s mom with pets and family outings, and the family’s many vacations including three weeks in Morocco. A closeup of a rose David props up, long views of cloud wrapped mountain peaks, planes, and Annie and boys on the hovercraft to London; longshots of cityscapes, their sons madly bicycling and getting taller; his parents, uncomfortable with the lens on them, smiling shyly, proudly. To this family chronicle Annie lends her voice and wisdoms garnered from personal diaries, about politics, and life’s sixty-years-and-counting lessons.

To quote: “[T]hey comprised not only a family archive but a testimony to the pastimes, lifestyle, and aspirations of a social class in the decade after 1968. I wanted to incorporate these silent images into a story which combined the intimate with the social and with history, to convey the taste and colour of those years.” Annie Ernaux, the award-winning French Nobel laureate has authored some twenty novels and memoirs with two adapted for films – Danielle Abrid’s Simple Passion (2020), and Audrey Diwan’s The Happening (2021). She wrote her first novel (published in 1974) during this period; her subject matter, often autobiographical, is sociological in nature.

David Ernaux-Briot’s debut feature film is a detour from scientific journalism, his primary focus. He wrote/directed a scientific specific mini-series, plus has contributed to other television programs. Clement Pinteaux adroitly edited with Florencia Di Concilio’s emotive music sprinkled throughout. What bolsters the film’s ambience is sound editor Rym Debbarh-Mounir and sound mixer Melissa Petitjean’s carefully applied sound design. Although interesting, the old-fashioned images are nevertheless someone else’s home movies. (Marinell Haegelin)

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