David Ernaux-Briot and Annie Ernaux, 2022, 61 min.
In French with English subtitles
Q&A with director David Ernaux-Briot and Thomas Dodman
With her son David Ernaux-Briot, the French writer and 2022 Nobel Prize winner Annie Ernaux, whose novels and memoirs have gained her a devoted following, opens a treasure trove with this delicate journey into their family’s memory. Compiled from gorgeously textured home movie images from 1972 to 1981 – when her first books were published, her sons became teenagers, and her husband Philippe brought an 8mm film camera everywhere they went – this portrait of a time, place, and moment of personal and political significance takes us from holidays and family rituals in suburban bourgeois France to trips abroad in Albania and Egypt, Spain and the USSR. Supplying her own introspective voiceover, Ernaux and her co-filmmaker, her son David, guide the viewer through fragments of a decade, diffuse and vivid in equal measure.The Super 8 Years is a remarkable visual extension of Ernaux’s ongoing literary project to make sense of the mysterious past and the unknowable future.
David Ernaux-Briot, son of Annie and Philippe Ernaux, was born in 1968. He grew up in Annecy and Cergy-Pontoise. After studying science, he decided to focus on scientific journalism and contributed to specialized TV programs such as E=M6 and C’est pas Sorcier. He wrote and directed the mini-series Théâtre des Machines, Corpus, and Art et Sport for Universcience and CANOPE. The Super 8 Years is his first feature-length documentary.
The author of some twenty works of fiction and memoirs, Annie Ernaux is considered by many to be France’s most important literary voice today. In 2022, she received the Nobel Prize for Literature, and she also won the Prix Renaudot for A Man’s Place and the Marguerite Yourcenar Prize for her body of work. Recently, two of her books were adapted into award-winning films: Simple Passion directed by Danielle Abrid and The Happening directed by Audrey Diwan.
ThomasDodman is Associate Professor in the Department of French at Columbia University and director of the History & Literature program at Columbia's Global Center in Paris. A historian of the long Nineteenth Century, he teaches and publishes on the history of emotions, medical humanities, and the oeuvre of Annie Ernaux.
This film is presented as part of the Columbia University Maison Française 2023 Film Festival, Across Generations: Unveiling the Past, Embracing the Present. The festival is curated by Shanny Peer, Fanny Guex and Ilana Custos-Quatreville and produced by the Columbia Maison Française.
Additional support is provided by the Knapp Family Foundation and Villa Albertine, and by our festival co-sponsors at Columbia University: Alliance Program, Department of History, Institute of African Studies, European Institute, and Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities. The full festival program can be found HERE.
This film screening is also supported by Albertine Cinematheque, a program of FACE Foundation and Villa Albertine, with support from the CNC / Centre National du Cinema, and SACEM / Fonds Culturel Franco-Américain.