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The Crack Magazine

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The Super-8 Years

Directors: Annie Ernaux, David Ernaux-Briot

Co-directed by octogenarian Nobel Prize winning author Annie Ernaux, this melancholy and lyrical cine-memoir, was instigated by her son David after he came across a trove of home movies belonging to the family. It starts in 1972 when Ernaux’s then-husband Phillippe acquired an 8mm camera and Annie was yet to be published and working as a teacher. As Philippe insists on doing the filming, he remains an elusive figure, leaving the stage to his wife and her two sons David and Eric. The footage consists of special family occasions and various holidays abroad with Ernaux’s narration supplying a poignant counterpoint to the seemingly idyllic events as she muses about the state of the marriage along with her hopes and disillusionments. The picture also works as a study of turbulent political times in Europe and further afield in the 1970s. The family visit Chile where the travel party is met personally by Allende, as well as Moscow and Albania, where the privations Ernaux witnesses in the latter cause her to reflect on her ideals. The family also visit London during a roasting summer rendered here as a surreal wonderland. It’s a bewitching study of how memories are constructed and curated with the meticulously-assembled grainy film casting an almost dreamlike spell, while illustrating a woman gradually finding her own voice.

David Willoughby

Follow David on Twitter @DWill_Crackfilm