" Neither God nor master. The author and director Tancrède Ramonet borrows the formula of Auguste Blanqui (1805-1881), socialist revolutionary who spent so much time in prison that he was nicknamed "The Locked Up", to title his documentary fresco in four episodes – independently visible – devoted to anarchism. He could have added "nor critical", so laudatory is the story he offers.
But strangely, here, this bias is not embarrassing, compensated by the erudition and enthusiasm of the historians questioned, all specialists or supporters of the movements which opposed, in France and elsewhere, any form of authority ( State, boss, religion) since the 19th century. This common passion allows Tancrède Ramonet (son of Ignacio Ramonet, former director of Le Monde diplomatique) to present unpublished archives, ignored documents and new insights into facts that were thought to be rehashed.
Provided, however, that you do not stop at the first images of episode 3, broadcast on Monday May 22, in particular those of the Mauthausen camp, where anarchists were deported during the Occupation. Beyond this introduction, Of Flowers or Cobblestones (1944-1968) focuses on the rebirth of the movement, from the recreation of federations in Europe to the "revolutionary movement that could have changed the face of the world". But through the original prism of pacifism, which gradually will switch to violence - the creation of Direct Action is an illustration of this. “The idea that war is the health of states becomes central to libertarian thought,” says British historian Carissa Honeywell.
A large sequence is thus devoted to the "provolution", born in 1965 in the Netherlands and embodied by Roel van Duijn. This student will theorize "the famous cycle: provocation, repression, mobilization". At the narration, comedian Redjep Mitrovitsa cannot restrain his admiration. A few minutes later, on the other hand, he is sorry: on May 15, 1967, the Provo movement dissolves, "unable to seize this revolutionary momentum".
Cohn-Bendit and May 68
The sequel to May 68 is instantaneous, suggested by an iconic photo of student leader Daniel Cohn-Bendit. But, here again, certain developments are pleasantly surprising, such as the use of the acronym A to federate the anarchist nebula "by mental automatism" - using the rules of marketing in passing.
The film also rectifies a few "errors": "Contrary to what the legend says, the repression [of May 68] was very brutal. The historian Claire Auzias (who took part, in 1968, in the movement of 22-Mars Lyonnais) further recalls that, on May 14, in Lyon, a policeman died not under the wheels of a truck launched by demonstrators, as the prefect of police said then, but during treatment in the hospital…
After the failure of the war in Spain, after May 68, the most touching thing is perhaps to note the intact fervor of the interviewees, rallied behind the old libertarian adage: "No revolutionary attempt is ever in vain. »