Annie Ernaux, Intimate Story in Super 8

Read, studied and translated all over the world, Annie Ernaux is one of the greatest writers in French literature, but also one of the greatest feminist voices, she is a strong voice and also political.

The Super 8 years was presented at the Directors’ Fortnight of the 75th Cannes Film Festival, this hour-long film was born out of a desire to reclaim dozens of Super 8 films made between 1972 and 1981 by her late ex-husband.

If the idea of ​​making films never really interested her, Annie Ernaux says she “let it get involved”: “I really got into this story that we’re hearing because it was important for me to tell it in my own words.”indicates who was a finalist for the prestigious international Booker Prize in 2019. “These films sat in a drawer for years and kind of faded into oblivion. One day we were watching them with my sons and my grandchildren. There one thing suggested to another David suggested making a movie out of it which I’ll add a story to.”says the 81-year-old novelist.

“Win My Freedom”

In the film, the viewer discovers a married Annie Ernaux with two young children. The author is always in the foreground, is omnipresent. But on closer inspection, it’s a frail woman uncomfortable with her new life that the public sees.

A woman torn between her duties as a wife and her bourgeois life, she has defected from the class, she announces The place, and his irrepressible desire to write. At this time she also wrote her first book. Empty closets (1974).

It is not a memoir, even if it documents the years that shaped her as a writer, but above all it describes an era, that of the glorious 30s and the thirst for life of a generation in search of emancipation, leisure and travel.

I can confirm that these ten years are the most important years of my life because they will confirm my desire to write. And then also because I will win my freedom
Annie Ernaux

However, it will have taken Annie Ernaux a few years to emancipate herself from her domestic life in order to write. “I can say that these ten years are the great years of my life because they will confirm my desire to write. And then also because I will win my freedom. A freedom that I’ve suffered from, even though I think I, I made a love marriage”.

“I think it can be a new story for the viewer, really new for them to see me and hear me share things about my intimacy, and at the same time, that intimacy belongs to everyone.”, she continues. Eventually, “It is the story of my life as well as that of thousands of women who have also been in search of freedom and emancipation.”

“The Event”, a major work on abortion

While several of his films have been adapted for cinema, including The eventIn her autobiographical account of the 1964 secret abortion that won the Golden Lion at the 2021 Venice Film Festival, Annie Ernaux is not interested in this medium.

The reason ? “I write with the inner images, the images of memory. The process of writing for cinema is very different“, She explains.

I think we could wait for that conservative wave because when women come into power….or rather, when their voices get louder, men show solidarity with each other.
Annie Ernaux

At a time when abortion rights are being questioned in the United States, what does the woman whose work is permeated by these questions think? “I think we could have expected this conservative wave, because when women take power …. or rather, when their voices get louder, men show solidarity with each other,” She answers. And add “that women in France, like in the United States, are no longer willing to let things happen”.

Feminist voice, but above all an author

A true feminist icon for several generations, Annie Ernaux simply admits that she feels “Woman. A woman who writes, that’s all”.

“I’m always amazed that what I write in solitude has such an echo! It is true that meeting readers gives me pleasure and justification for writing, all doubts are suddenly removed in this sharing and I tell myself that we are not alone.” She confides in France Inter.

His last book The young man was released by Gallimard in early May. In this very short 40-page story, written in the late 1990s, the author recounts a relationship she had with a boy 30 years her junior when she was 54. A love story that she experiences as a challenge to society. As an epigraph at the beginning of the book, we can read these few words: “If I don’t write them, things aren’t over, they’ve just been experienced.”

A book, another installment in Annie Ernaux’s autobiographical enterprise begun half a century ago, that receives critical acclaim. Le figaro Greeting”the rhythm of the short Ernausian form, its density, the fruit of long work, the hammering of a reading of reality”. The writer “achieves the wonder of using simplicity and evidence to highlight the essential aspects of an experience”according to the obs. As for the express, he closes with it “Let’s put it bluntly, a delight, a candy, a nod to life”.

Also read in Terriennes:
►”Home Alone”: Interview with the author Cécile Coulon.
► “Viril” or the feminist catharsis of Virginie Despentes, Béatrice Dalle and Casey
►Feminist Literature: When African authors take up the topic…
►The writer Gabrielle Roy, “Mirror” by Gabrielle Colette in Canada
►The writer Colette: scandalous, freedom-loving and paradoxical feminist
►Olga Tokarczuk, winner of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature: an exceptional author

International Festival of Women’s Literature: Meetings with French-speaking Canadian women authors
►70 women from five continents gathered in Orléans for the 1st Parliament of French-speaking women writers
►Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, this Nigerian writer, feminist who provokes debates

►The writers, great forgotten of the Abitur?
►Anne Cuneo, an unusual Swiss writer, disappears
►Disappearance of Nadine Gordimer, South African writer, without borders and taboos


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