President Macron faces his biggest challenge as strikes and protests recall the epic struggle that rocked France to its core. We can win, insist this generation…
At Nanterre university, on the outskirts of Paris, militant students have a dilemma: how can they pass their end-of-year exams while simultaneously fighting to derail the French government’s education reforms?
“It’s a worry, but we’ll find a way,” says Annaël Lombe, a student union leader who is taking his political science finals in a few weeks. “Exams or not, we won’t stop the protest. We will carry on the action.”
Fifty years ago, Nanterre students issued much the same warning. It turned out to be far from an idle threat. Subsequent protests at Nanterre sparked the May 1968 civil unrest that drew 10 million students and striking workers on to the streets and brought France to a halt. It was a dramatic – some thought revolutionary –moment in French history that nearly toppled a government.
In the end, the protests fizzled out, but even now the events remain a model of how people power can rattle French political leaders and in doing so change society.[ . . . ]
The young literary star defied French elites and social taboos with his best-selling autobiographical novels that portray poverty made invisible in his country. He talks to DW about fiction and a forgotten underclass.
DW: Just like your first novel, “The End of Eddy,” your latest work is also strictly autobiographical. Why?
Edouard Louis: The world is currently saturated with fiction; it’s already structured by lies and fabrications. One of the reasons why people like Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange are persecuted is because they have showed us that governments are lying to us.When the French government claims that we can’t welcome migrants, it’s a lie. Why don’t they just say, “We don’t want to welcome migrants,” instead? That would be the truth…”
Jeremy Allen interviews Carla Bruni in Paris about her new album French Touch, but politics is strictly interdict. “I wish good luck to Mr and Mrs Trump, I wish good luck to Mr and Mrs Macron, and I don’t care, do you understand?”
PARIS CAN WAIT
Bonjour my friends!
Last night I watched the movie Paris Can Wait as a mindless diversion from Rachel Maddow’s frustratingly futile plans for a Trump impeachment and the continuous Harvey-Irma hurricane disaster reports. This cable news diversion was a bit more mindless than I could tolerate, however. Although I loved the many French restaurant dining scenes (particularly the Châteauneuf-du-Pape pouring into oversized wine glasses) and the footage of a curiously unoccupied Pont du Gard, I’ve seen better stories on The Hallmark Channel, watching with my 87 year old mother, while both of us drown-out the romcom dialogue with talk about our Red Sox. Mom loves Mookie.
This is the first feature film from Eleanor Coppola (the wife of Francis Ford Coppola) and the story is somewhat autobiographical, with lovely Diane Lane playing a recently empty-nested “Anne” (Coppola) who undertakes a surprise road trip from Cannes to Paris, alongside the flirtatious Frenchman Jacques (Arnaud Viard), who is a business associate of her husband (Alec Baldwin as the Francis Ford You-Know-Who character).
Will Jacques be nimble and quick enough to grab some nookie with Anne? After about 30 minutes you’ll stop caring about either of these graying cuties, and your only concern will be if the local wine shop is still open.
MACRON, LUMBERGH AND THE SLACKERS
Reuters News reports President Emmanuel Macron faces the first challenge on the streets to his business-friendly reform agenda today, when workers from the hard-left CGT union will march through French cities to protest against a loosening of labor regulations. Macron told French business leaders: “I am fully determined and I won’t cede any ground, not to slackers, nor cynics, nor hardliners.”
Slackers? Mon Dieu!
My French friends – don’t fall for this shit! Ask any American worker if they would prefer your 35 hour work week and many holidays to our 24/7/365 days-a-year model. Only the most jealous and/or deluded will claim ours is superior to yours in terms of overall health and happiness. Don’t allow Macron to become President Bill Lumbergh. You’ll be working Saturdays, mes amis.
BILL LUMBERGH, OFFICE SPACE Speaking of Office Space, here’s some great clips from YouTube.
“Paris Can Wait,” a smugly affluent Euro trifle and the first narrative feature from Eleanor Coppola (the wife of Francis Ford Coppola), is little more than an indulgent wallow in gustatory privilege. By the time the final meal is devoured, you’ll be wanting nothing so much as an antacid.
Inspired by similar events in Ms. Coppola’s past, the story fusses around Anne (an overqualified Diane Lane) as she trundles from Cannes to Paris in an old Peugeot. Anne’s husband, a frantic Hollywood producer (a barely seen Alec Baldwin), has been urgently summoned to Budapest. So his amiable French business partner, Jacques (Arnaud Viard), has offered to drive Anne to her destination — via seemingly every notable restaurant en route.
What follows is a Michelin-starred commercial for French cuisine gussied up as Anne’s journey of self-discovery. When not inhaling jus d’agneau and crème brûlée — and a cheese basket the size of a small fishing boat — the two visit famous landmarks and exchange flirty glances. But when Anne finally peels off her pantyhose, it isn’t to indulge in a roadside quickie; it’s to repair the Peugeot’s broken fan belt. So practical, these American women!
Between promoting her son-in-law’s band and tediously freeze-framing Anne’s amateur snapshots, Ms. Coppola (best known for her riveting 1991 documentary about the making of “Apocalypse Now”) never realizes Anne as more than a bland accessory who lets men tell her what to eat. Unlike Martine (Élise Tielrooy), a forthright Venusian beauty from Jacques’s past.
“You’ll never forget your travels with Jacques,” Martine promises, flushed with remembered ecstasies. Oh, Martine, I’m pretty sure we will.