Directed by : Alex Mayenfisch

Genre : Documentary

Duration: 52′

Year : 2018

Original version : French, German, Italian

dubbed version : German, Italian

May 68 the premises

May 1968 did not arise ex nihilo, all its components pre-existed. A generation that was twenty years old in the mid-1960s was no longer satisfied with a hopelessly immutable state of affairs and burned with the realization of long-standing expectations. The pressure was gradually built up and the boiler finally exploded. Including in Switzerland.

The film was conceived as a tribute to those who no longer wanted to live in the world of the time, and was made with the help of archives from RTS Radio Télévision Suisse, SRF and RSI.

In the early 60s, the first baby-boomers to reach adulthood discovered a paradoxical society. The economic boom of the time led to a rise in living standards that offered unprecedented prospects of emancipation. But this relative joy was at odds with the weight of the conservative ideas that still prevailed in terms of family, morality and submission to authority. What is given with one hand seems to be taken away with the other. This is a source of frustration.

While for the majority of young people it’s enough to stand out from their elders, there is a fringe group who want to break free from social norms that are still largely conformist and seen as alienating and stifling. Under the impetus of precursory or emerging artistic movements, signs of cultural rebellion, a desire for social dissidence and political protest began to appear. This nascent state of mind sought to challenge the dominant order and its hypocrisy, blithely combining personal emancipation with a desire for a peaceful, harmonious world. There is a desire to change life and society, and therefore life in society.

The established powers will prove incapable of understanding, let alone predicting, what is happening, and “civil society” (parties, trade unions, etc.) will miss out on a development and desiderata that are outside its frame of thinking. That demands that were often confused, partial and sometimes even incoherent would produce such an explosive effect could not have been imagined. Yet this generation asked for very little: to exist and to express itself.

Under the impetus of people who were as minority as they were determined, the years leading up to May 68 were rich in events and social developments that give the decade a special aura. Their motivations and aspirations were multifaceted, and if they converged there’s no point in looking for homogeneity; it’s even this abundance that gives this history its flavour and uniqueness.



Directed by : Alex Mayenfisch

Editing : Kevin Schlosser

Image : Nicolas Veuthey

Sound : Maxime Valvini, Carlos Ibanez Diaz

Sound editing and sound mix : Jerôme Cuendet

Documentalists : Victor Baumgartner, Reto Tamò

Production : Climage, Daniel Wyss

Archive footage : Service Documentation & Archives De La RTS,  SRF Dokumentation Und Archive, RSI Radiotelevisione Svizzera

Coproduction : RTS Radio Télévision Suisse, Unité des films documentaires Irène Challand, Frédéric Pfyffer | Redaktion SRF Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen Belinda Sallin, Urs Augstburger | RSI Radiotelevisione Svizzera, Silvana Bezzola Rigolini

financial support : Cinéforom et le soutien de la Loterie romande, Fonds de production télévisuelle, Succès passage antenne


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In Switzerland : PlaySuisse

International : TV5 Monde Plus

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