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Screening the Paris suburbsFrom the silent era to the 1990s$
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Derek Schilling and Philippe Met

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781526106858

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526106858.001.0001

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What’s left of the ‘red suburb’? Hervé Le Roux’s Reprise as case study

What’s left of the ‘red suburb’? Hervé Le Roux’s Reprise as case study

(p.202) 15 What’s left of the ‘red suburb’? Hervé Le Roux’s Reprise as case study
Screening the Paris suburbs

Guillaume Soulez

Manchester University Press

On 10 June 1968, in front of the Wonder battery factories in Saint-Ouen, an outraged young woman refuses to return to work despite the trade union’s vote to end the strike. Filmed by an anonymous camera operator, the altercation gives rise to the fabled ten-minute direct film Reprise du travail aux usines Wonder. Tracking down this same woman twenty-five years later, French documentarian Hervé Le Roux makes another film, the aptly titled Reprise (1995), which charts the evolution since 1968 of the working class in the former ‘red belt’ around Paris. His investigation, which results from a negotiation between a place, its inhabitants and a film crew, aims to reconstruct, trace by trace, the relevant places and their social makeup. Arguing for Reprise as a film de banlieue in the strongest possible sense, the author shows how Le Roux weaves working-class left activism back into the site in Saint-Ouen, letting himself be swept along in his depiction by neighbourhood dynamics and popular memory. Rather than trying to revive a more or less faded ‘red suburb’, the film works with the place as it is, providing stark contrast in tone and purpose to its virtual screen contemporary, La Haine (Mathieu Kassovitz, 1995).

Keywords:   direct cinema, May 1968, labour movements, working class identity, documentary

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