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The Super 8 Years 12A

Annie Ernaux, David Ernaux-Briot, France, 2022, 60m.

Nobel Laureate and internationally acclaimed writer Annie Ernaux transforms her home movies into a fascinating exploration of self and family life.


The Super 8 Years is a record of lives lived between 1972 and 1981. Annie Ernaux, working with her son David, has drawn together footage that was mostly shot by her ex-husband (and David’s father) Philippe. It’s a detailed account of domestic family life, at home and abroad, while also recording the period when Ernaux first became a published author. As a result, the film ultimately becomes a record of a marriage in a state of gradual decline, as well as the blossoming of her writing career.

As the years pass, the footage, accompanied by the words of Ernaux’s older, more experienced and perhaps wiser self, evinces subtleties that were likely missed at the time, but now resemble the kernels of unhappiness that would forever change these lives.

The Garden Cinema View:

Annie Ernaux's autobiographical documentary is a hypnotic journey into her family's memories from 1971-1982. Much like Charlotte Wells' Aftersun, the film explores the way in which current knowledge imbues old footage and memories with new meaning. It is also a brilliant depiction of a creative woman's oppression by her seemingly liberal husband, subtly addressing patriarchal attitudes of the time. Interestingly, Ernaux's marriage deteriorated after the publication of her third book A Frozen Woman in 1981, which explores her discomfort with marriage and motherhood. The documentary also elegantly weaves in the sociological and political processes of the era, providing a glimpse into the post-Soviet age's melancholy and hope.

Ernaux was awarded the 2022 Novel Prize in Literature for her clinical acuity with which she uncovered the roots and collective restraints of personal memory, and - watching The Super 8 Years, it is easy to see why!


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