Monday, August 22, 2005

Génération Mitterrand

Well, I hadn’t been to the cinema in a while, and certainly not to see a movie like The Last Mitterrand. Indeed, I believe the previous movie I saw to have been Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, where Johnny Depp was just as yummy as the chocolate, although I have to admit to finding him a lot creepier that the aforementioned chocolate. But I digress…

The last Mitterrand then... (original title: Le Promeneur du Champ de Mars As a French citizen and as a member of what has been called the “Génération Mitterrand” i.e. having gone through childhood and most of my teenage years while he was President, I was very keen to see this movie, albeit a few months later than its French release but thankful for the International release all the same…

After the screening, I was asked if I was a Mitterrand fan… Although it is no mystery that I do vote Socialist in France whenever I can vote at all, I am not sure I was a Mitterrand fan. Certainly, I admired him. His megalomania, his narcissism (comparing himself to the last of the Greats, French kings and emperors as well as Presidents included), his shaddy past during the Vichy Government, his illegitimate affairs and his illegitimate daughter have certainly tainted his image, especially for those of us who are too young to remember anything else, too young to have experienced anything else from his character. However, he was an endearing individual, the last bastion of Socialism in France and what might have at the time been perceived as megalomania and arrogance turns out to have been incredible foresight.

He certainly was the last of the Great, whether we like him or not. DeGaulle before him was definitely one to remember in the centuries to come. After Mitterrand? Certainly nobody in the Socialist Party has shown him / herself worthy of following in his footsteps, nobody has shown stature, nobody has shown a willingness to rise above the internal rivalries and power struggles in the name of the Socialist ideology. As for great heads of State… Those who have the stature and the strength of their convictions are hardly the ones one would desire to rule the country whose motto is Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité…

5 comments:

F said...

But what next for France then?
If there'll never be another great Socialist leader, or least not for the next twenty or years or so, where does that leave France both individually and within the European project?

Cadavre Exquis said...

Is there ever going to be another great Socialist leader in the world? By "great", I mean important you'll understand... Once Castro is gone, there'll be nobody left. Men (or women) who will mark History as great Socialist icons internationally are a dying breed.

Where does that leave France? Well, just because the left has so far failed to find amongst its ranks a successor to Mitterrand does not mean that the social struggles have disappeared. The movement is still there, although muffled by the lack of charismatic symbols to spearhead and voice, waiting to be rekindled. Social rights have always been at the heart of French citizens and will remain there, no matter who the leaders of the country are.

In terms of domestic affairs, the last blunder of the left was to fail to show a united front, to fail to give unilateral directions on the European Constitution Referendum. The left is in tatters at the highest levels of the hierarchy. With 22 Communists and 142 (+8 affiliates) MPs out of 577, what representation does it hope to achieve? With no programme, no leader and no representation, the Socialist party has left France a truly centre right to right country since the mid 90's and it will remain so until someone somewhere emerges. Whether it be a relatively new face or a squeleton dug out of a closet remains to be seen.

F said...

I like squeletons ;)

bisous

Cadavre Exquis said...

Note to self: better start using spellcheck if people are actually going to read this stuff...

F said...

:D