The May 1968 events in France refers to the volatile period of civil unrest throughout France during May 1968 which was punctuated by demonstrations and major general strikes as well as the occupation of universities and factories across France. At its height, the events brought the economy of France almost to a halt. The protests reached such a point that political leaders feared civil war or revolution; the national government itself briefly ceased to function after President Charles de Gaulle secretly fled France for a few hours. The protests spurred an artistic movement, with songs, imaginative graffiti, posters, and slogans.
The unrest began with a series of student occupation protests against capitalism, consumerism, American imperialism and traditional institutions, values and order. It then spread to factories with strikes involving 11 million workers, more than 22% of the total population of France at the time, for two continuous weeks. The movement was characterized by its spontaneous and decentralized wildcat disposition; this created contrast and sometimes even conflict between itself and the establishment, trade unions and workers' parties. It was the largest general strike ever attempted in France, and the first nationwide wildcat general strike.
The student occupations and wildcat general strikes initiated across France were met with forceful confrontation by university administrators and police. The de Gaulle administration's attempts to quell those strikes by police action only inflamed the situation further, leading to street battles with the police in the Latin Quarter, Paris, followed by the spread of general strikes and occupations throughout France. De Gaulle fled to a French military base in Germany, and after returning dissolved the National Assembly, and called for new parliamentary elections for 23 June 1968. Violence evaporated almost as quickly as it arose. Workers went back to their jobs, and when the elections were held in June, the Gaullist party emerged stronger than before.
"May 68" affected French society for decades afterward. It is considered to this day as a cultural, social and moral turning point in the history of the country. As Alain Geismar—one of the leaders of the time—later pointed out, the movement succeeded "as a social revolution, not as a political one".
|May 1968 events in France|
|Part of the Protests of 1968|
|Date||2 May – 23 June 1968|
(1 month and 3 weeks)
|Methods||Occupations, wildcat strikes, general strikes|
|Resulted in||Snap legislative election|
|Parties to the civil conflict|
In February 1968, the French Communists and French Socialists formed an electoral alliance. Communists had long supported Socialist candidates in elections, but in the "February Declaration" the two parties agreed to attempt to form a joint government to replace President Charles de Gaulle and his Gaullist Party.
On 22 March far-left groups, a small number of prominent poets and musicians, and 150 students occupied an administration building at Paris University at Nanterre and held a meeting in the university council room dealing with class discrimination in French society and the political bureaucracy that controlled the university's funding. The university's administration called the police, who surrounded the university. After the publication of their wishes, the students left the building without any trouble. After this first record some leaders of what was named the "Movement of 22 March" were called together by the disciplinary committee of the university.
Following months of conflicts between students and authorities at the Nanterre campus of the University of Paris (now Paris Nanterre University), the administration shut down the university on 2 May 1968. Students at the Sorbonne campus of the University of Paris (today Sorbonne University) in Paris met on 3 May to protest against the closure and the threatened expulsion of several students at Nanterre. On Monday, 6 May, the national student union, the Union Nationale des Étudiants de France (UNEF)—still the largest student union in France today—and the union of university teachers called a march to protest against the police invasion of Sorbonne. More than 20,000 students, teachers and supporters marched towards the Sorbonne, still sealed off by the police, who charged, wielding their batons, as soon as the marchers approached. While the crowd dispersed, some began to create barricades out of whatever was at hand, while others threw paving stones, forcing the police to retreat for a time. The police then responded with tear gas and charged the crowd again. Hundreds more students were arrested.
High school student unions spoke in support of the riots on 6 May. The next day, they joined the students, teachers and increasing numbers of young workers who gathered at the Arc de Triomphe to demand that:
Negotiations broke down, and students returned to their campuses after a false report that the government had agreed to reopen them, only to discover the police still occupying the schools. This led to a near revolutionary fervor among the students.
On Friday, 10 May, another huge crowd congregated on the Rive Gauche. When the Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité again blocked them from crossing the river, the crowd again threw up barricades, which the police then attacked at 2:15 in the morning after negotiations once again floundered. The confrontation, which produced hundreds of arrests and injuries, lasted until dawn of the following day. The events were broadcast on radio as they occurred and the aftermath was shown on television the following day. Allegations were made that the police had participated in the riots, through agents provocateurs, by burning cars and throwing Molotov cocktails.
The government's heavy-handed reaction brought on a wave of sympathy for the strikers. Many of the nation's more mainstream singers and poets joined after the police brutality came to light. American artists also began voicing support of the strikers. The major left union federations, the Confédération Générale du Travail (CGT) and the Force Ouvrière (CGT-FO), called a one-day general strike and demonstration for Monday, 13 May.
Well over a million people marched through Paris on that day; the police stayed largely out of sight. Prime Minister Georges Pompidou personally announced the release of the prisoners and the reopening of the Sorbonne. However, the surge of strikes did not recede. Instead, the protesters became even more active.
When the Sorbonne reopened, students occupied it and declared it an autonomous "people's university". Public opinion at first supported the students, but quickly turned against them after their leaders, invited to appear on national television, "behaved like irresponsible utopianists who wanted to destroy the 'consumer society.'" Nonetheless, in the weeks that followed, approximately 401 popular action committees were set up in Paris and elsewhere to take up grievances against the government and French society, including the Sorbonne Occupation Committee.
By the middle of May, demonstrations extended to factories, though its workers' demands significantly varied from that of the students. A union-led general strike on 13 May included 200,000 in a march. The strikes spread to all sectors of the French economy, including state-owned jobs, manufacturing and service industries, management, and administration. Across France, students occupied university structures and up to one-third of the country's workforce was on strike.
These strikes were not led by the union movement; on the contrary, the CGT tried to contain this spontaneous outbreak of militancy by channeling it into a struggle for higher wages and other economic demands. Workers put forward a broader, more political and more radical agenda, demanding the ousting of the government and President de Gaulle and attempting, in some cases, to run their factories. When the trade union leadership negotiated a 35% increase in the minimum wage, a 7% wage increase for other workers, and half normal pay for the time on strike with the major employers' associations, the workers occupying their factories refused to return to work and jeered their union leaders. In fact, in the May '68 movement there was a lot of "anti-unionist euphoria," against the mainstream unions, the CGT, FO and CFDT, that were more willing to compromise with the powers that be than enact the will of the base.
On 24 May two people died at the hands of the out of control rioters. In Lyon, Police Inspector Rene Lacroix died when he was crushed by a driverless truck sent careering into police lines by rioters. In Paris, Phillipe Metherion, 26, was stabbed to death during an argument among demonstrators.
As the upheaval reached its apogee in late May, major trade unions met with employers' organizations and the French government to produce the Grenelle agreements, which would increase the minimum wage 35% and all salaries 10%, and granted employee protections and a shortened working day. The unions were forced to reject the agreement, based on opposition from their members, underscoring a disconnect in organizations that claimed to reflect working class interests.
The UNEF student union and CFDT trade union held a rally in the Charléty stadium with about 22,000 attendees. Its range of speakers reflected the divide between student and Communist factions. While the rally was held in the stadium partly for security, the insurrectionary messages of the speakers was dissonant with the relative amenities of the sports venue.
The Socialists saw an opportunity to act as a compromise between de Gaulle and the Communists. On 28 May, François Mitterrand of the Federation of the Democratic and Socialist Left declared that "there is no more state" and stated that he was ready to form a new government. He had received a surprisingly high 45% of the vote in the 1965 presidential election. On 29 May, Pierre Mendès France also stated that he was ready to form a new government; unlike Mitterrand he was willing to include the Communists. Although the Socialists did not have the Communists' ability to form large street demonstrations, they had more than 20% of the country's support.
On the morning of 29 May, de Gaulle postponed the meeting of the Council of Ministers scheduled for that day and secretly removed his personal papers from Élysée Palace. He told his son-in-law Alain de Boissieu, "I do not want to give them a chance to attack the Élysée. It would be regrettable if blood were shed in my personal defense. I have decided to leave: nobody attacks an empty palace." De Gaulle refused Pompidou's request that he dissolve the National Assembly as he believed that their party, the Gaullists, would lose the resulting election. At 11:00 a.m., he told Pompidou, "I am the past; you are the future; I embrace you."
The government announced that de Gaulle was going to his country home in Colombey-les-Deux-Églises before returning the next day, and rumors spread that he would prepare his resignation speech there. The presidential helicopter did not arrive in Colombey, however, and de Gaulle had told no one in the government where he was going. For more than six hours the world did not know where the French president was. The canceling of the ministerial meeting, and the president's mysterious disappearance, stunned the French, including Pompidou, who shouted, "He has fled the country!"
The national government had effectively ceased to function. Édouard Balladur later wrote that as prime minister, Pompidou "by himself was the whole government" as most officials were "an incoherent group of confabulators" who believed that revolution would soon occur. A friend of the prime minister offered him a weapon, saying, "You will need it"; Pompidou advised him to go home. One official reportedly began burning documents, while another asked an aide how far they could flee by automobile should revolutionaries seize fuel supplies. Withdrawing money from banks became difficult, gasoline for private automobiles was unavailable, and some people tried to obtain private planes or fake national identity cards.
Pompidou unsuccessfully requested that military radar be used to follow de Gaulle's two helicopters, but soon learned that he had gone to the headquarters of the French military in Germany, in Baden-Baden, to meet General Jacques Massu. Massu persuaded the discouraged de Gaulle to return to France; now knowing that he had the military's support, de Gaulle rescheduled the meeting of the Council of Ministers for the next day, 30 May, and returned to Colombey by 6:00 p.m. His wife Yvonne gave the family jewels to their son and daughter-in-law—who stayed in Baden for a few more days—for safekeeping, however, indicating that the de Gaulles still considered Germany a possible refuge. Massu kept as a state secret de Gaulle's loss of confidence until others disclosed it in 1982; until then most observers believed that his disappearance was intended to remind the French people of what they might lose. Although the disappearance was real and not intended as motivation, it indeed had such an effect on France.
On 30 May, 400,000 to 500,000 protesters (many more than the 50,000 the police were expecting) led by the CGT marched through Paris, chanting: "Adieu, de Gaulle!" ("Farewell, de Gaulle!"). Maurice Grimaud, head of the Paris police, played a key role in avoiding revolution by both speaking to and spying on the revolutionaries, and by carefully avoiding the use of force. While Communist leaders later denied that they had planned an armed uprising, and extreme militants only comprised 2% of the populace, they had overestimated de Gaulle's strength as shown by his escape to Germany. (One scholar, otherwise skeptical of the French Communists' willingness to maintain democracy after forming a government, has claimed that the "moderate, nonviolent and essentially antirevolutionary" Communists opposed revolution because they sincerely believed that the party must come to power through legal elections, not armed conflict that might provoke harsh repression from political opponents.)
The movement was largely centered around the Paris metropolitan area, and not elsewhere. Had the rebellion occupied key public buildings in Paris, the government would have had to use force to retake them. The resulting casualties could have incited a revolution, with the military moving from the provinces to retake Paris as in 1871. Minister of Defence Pierre Messmer and Chief of the Defence Staff Michel Fourquet prepared for such an action, and Pompidou had ordered tanks to Issy-les-Moulineaux. While the military was free of revolutionary sentiment, using an army mostly of conscripts the same age as the revolutionaries would have been very dangerous for the government. A survey taken immediately after the crisis found that 20% of Frenchmen would have supported a revolution, 23% would have opposed it, and 57% would have avoided physical participation in the conflict. 33% would have fought a military intervention, while only 5% would have supported it and a majority of the country would have avoided any action.
At 2:30 p.m. on 30 May, Pompidou persuaded de Gaulle to dissolve the National Assembly and call a new election by threatening to resign. At 4:30 p.m., de Gaulle broadcast his own refusal to resign. He announced an election, scheduled for 23 June, and ordered workers to return to work, threatening to institute a state of emergency if they did not. The government had leaked to the media that the army was outside Paris. Immediately after the speech, about 800,000 supporters marched through the Champs-Élysées waving the national flag; the Gaullists had planned the rally for several days, which attracted a crowd of diverse ages, occupations, and politics. The Communists agreed to the election, and the threat of revolution was over.
From that point, the revolutionary feeling of the students and workers faded away. Workers gradually returned to work or were ousted from their plants by the police. The national student union called off street demonstrations. The government banned a number of leftist organizations. The police retook the Sorbonne on 16 June. Contrary to de Gaulle's fears, his party won the greatest victory in French parliamentary history in the legislative election held in June, taking 353 of 486 seats versus the Communists' 34 and the Socialists' 57. The February Declaration and its promise to include Communists in government likely hurt the Socialists in the election. Their opponents cited the example of the Czechoslovak National Front government of 1945, which led to a Communist takeover of the country in 1948. Socialist voters were divided; in a February 1968 survey a majority had favored allying with the Communists, but 44% believed that Communists would attempt to seize power once in government. (30% of Communist voters agreed.)
On Bastille Day, there were resurgent street demonstrations in the Latin Quarter, led by socialist students, leftists and communists wearing red arm-bands and anarchists wearing black arm-bands. The Paris police and the Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité harshly responded starting around 10 pm and continuing through the night, on the streets, in police vans, at police stations, and in hospitals where many wounded were taken. There was, as a result, much bloodshed among students and tourists there for the evening's festivities. No charges were filed against police or demonstrators, but the governments of Britain and West Germany filed formal protests, including for the indecent assault of two English schoolgirls by police in a police station.
Despite the size of de Gaulle's triumph, it was not a personal one. The post-crisis survey showed that a majority of the country saw de Gaulle as too old, too self-centered, too authoritarian, too conservative, and too anti-American. As the April 1969 referendum would show, the country was ready for "Gaullism without de Gaulle".
May 1968 is an important reference point in French politics, representing for some the possibility of liberation and for others the dangers of anarchy. For some, May 1968 meant the end of traditional collective action and the beginning of a new era to be dominated mainly by the so-called new social movements.
Someone who took part in or supported this period of unrest is referred to as soixante-huitard - a term, derived from the French for "68", which has also entered the English language.
The 29th annual Venice International Film Festival was held from 25 August to 7 September 1968. The May 1968 events in France had serious repercussions on this festival. Five days before the festival was to be held, directors of the Italian filmmakers association ANAC, for both political and cultural reasons, withdrew their films from the competition. The Communist Party and the Socialist Party of Proletarian Unity were in favor of the boycott. Some directors, however, defected from this decision and Roberto Rossellini, Liliana Cavani, Bernardo Bertolucci and Nelo Risi decided to project their films. Pier Paolo Pasolini initially refused to participate at the festival, but finally his film entered in Competition.During the inauguration day, the police had occupied the Palazzo del Cinema del Lido. The inauguration ceremony was skipped and a decision was taken to go ahead with the festival in a self-managed way, with the director of the festival, Chiarini, as chairman. The next day the police intervened and the meetings were canceled. Finally the competition started on the evening of 27 August, while demonstrations against "the fascist and bourgeois exhibition" were taking place outside the Palazzo.Alain Krivine
Alain Krivine (French: [a.lɛ̃ kʁi.vin]; born 10 July 1941 in Paris) is a leader of the Trotskyist movement in France. He is a member of the Ligue communiste révolutionnaire (LCR), which is the French section of the reunified Fourth International. He was a member of the LCR's political bureau until March 2006, when he resigned from that committee. He was a member of the European Parliament from 1999 to 2004.
Krivine was one of the leaders of the May 1968 revolt in Paris, and was the last of the generation radicalised in the 1960s to serve on the political bureau of the LCR. He was the candidate of the LCR at the French presidential election on 1969, getting 1.05% of the votes.Best Director Award (Cannes Film Festival)
The Best Director Award (French: Prix de la mise en scène) is an annual award presented at the Cannes Film Festival for best directing achievements in a feature film screened as part of festival's official selection (i.e. films selected for the competition program which compete for the festival's main prize Palme d'Or). Awarded by festival's jury, it was first given in 1946.
The prize was not awarded on 12 occasions (1947, 1953–54, 1960, 1962–64, 1971, 1973–74, 1977, 1980). In addition, the festival was not held at all in 1948 and 1950, while in 1968 no awards were given as the festival was called off mid-way due to the May 1968 events in France. Also, the jury vote was tied and prize was shared by two directors on seven occasions (1955, 1969, 1975, 1983, 2001, 2002 and 2016).
The winner of Best Director Award rarely wins the Palme d'Or, the main prize at the festival (note that the Palme d'Or is awarded to the film's director as well; the only exception is the case of Blue Is the Warmest Colour, where the actresses were also awarded with the director). This happened only twice, in 1991, when Joel Coen won both awards for Barton Fink, and in 2003, when Gus Van Sant won for his film Elephant.Black Jesus (film)
Black Jesus (Italian: Seduto alla sua destra, lit. "Sitting to his right") is a 1968 Italian drama film co-written and directed by Valerio Zurlini and starring Woody Strode. It is inspired by the finals days of the first Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Patrice Lumumba. It was listed to compete at the 1968 Cannes Film Festival, but the festival was cancelled due to the May 1968 events in France.Chienlit
Chienlit is a traditional French term typically translated as masquerade (French: Mascarade) or carnival/chaos. It was brought to notoriety by General Charles de Gaulle in an angry speech during the student protests in Paris during May 1968 in France, when he used the vernacular term as a scatological pun "La réforme oui, la chie-en-lit non" meaning Reform yes, but chaos - no whilst the pun was Reform - yes, shit in bed - no .
The term is now common parlance in French political commentary, used both critically and ironically referring back to de Gaulle.Council for Maintaining the Occupations
The Council for Maintaining the Occupations (French: Conseil pour le Maintien des Occupations), or CMDO, was a revolutionary committee formed during the May 1968 events in France originating in the Sorbonne. The council favored the continuation of wildcat general strikes and factory occupations across France, maintaining them through directly democratic workers' councils. Within the revolutionary movement, it opposed the influence of major trade unions and the French Communist Party who intended to contain the revolt and compromise with General Charles de Gaulle.The council implemented a policy of equal representation for its participants. It was described by Situationist René Viénet as "essentially an uninterrupted general assembly, deliberating day and night. No faction or private meetings ever existed outside the common debate." It was formed on the evening of May 17, by supporters of the Sorbonne Occupation Committee.Daniel Bensaïd
Daniel Bensaïd (25 March 1946 – 12 January 2010) was a philosopher and a leader of the Trotskyist movement in France. He became a leading figure in the student revolt of 1968, while studying at the University of Paris X: Nanterre.Daniel Cohn-Bendit
Daniel Marc Cohn-Bendit (French: [kɔn bɛndit]; German: [koːn ˈbɛndiːt]; born 4 April 1945) is a French-German politician. He was a student leader during the unrest of May 1968 in France and was also known during that time as Dany le Rouge (French for "Danny the Red", because of both his politics and the colour of his hair). He was co-president of the group European Greens–European Free Alliance in the European Parliament. He co-chairs the Spinelli Group, a European parliament intergroup aiming at relaunching the federalist project in Europe. He was a recipient of the European Parliament's European Initiative Prize in 2016.Fais que ton rêve soit plus long que la nuit
Fais que ton rêve soit plus long que la nuit is an album by Vangelis Papathanassiou only released in France and Greece Recorded in 1971 and released in 1972 with the subtitle Poeme Symphonique, the entire theme of the record focuses on May 1968 in France and the student riots taking place there at the time. The album consists of a sound collage of music, field recordings, news snippets, protest songs and paroles. One of the choruses was later reworked as "Athenes Ma Ville" on Melina Mercouri's 1974 album Si Melina m'Etait Contée. Translated to English, the title reads, "Make your dream be longer than the night."Grenelle agreements
The Grenelle Agreements (French: Accords de Grenelle) or Grenelle Reports were negotiated 25 and 26 May, during the crisis of May 1968 in France by the representative of the Pompidou government, the trade unions, and the Organisation patronale. Among the negotiators were Jacques Chirac, then the young Secretary of State of Local Affairs, and Georges Séguy, representative of the Confédération générale du travail.
The Grenelle Agreements, concluded 27 May 1968—but not signed—led to a 35% increase in the minimum wage (salaire minimum interprofessionnel garanti) and 10% increase in average real wages. It also provided for the establishment of the trade union section of business (Section syndicale d'entreprise), through the act of 27 December 1968.
Rejected by the base, the agreements did not immediately solve the social crisis and the strikes continued. But three days later on 30 May, Charles de Gaulle, back in Paris after meeting with Jacques Massu in Baden-Baden, Germany, the previous day, was comforted by an enormous Gaullist counter-demonstration on Champs-Élysées. He decided to dissolve the National Assembly and to call for elections on 30 June 1968. The triumph of the Gaullists of the UDR (293 of 378 seats) ended the political crisis.
The name Grenelle is taken from the area where the agreements were negotiated, at the Ministry of Social Affairs located on the rue de Grenelle in Paris. The hotel, built in the late 18th century, formerly the Archbishop's Palace, was actually part of the Ministry of Labour since 1905. The "Room of Agreements", named since then, is an old dining room decorated in 18th-century style has been preserved.Half a Life (film)
Half a Life (French: Mourir à 30 ans) is a 1982 film directed by Romain Goupil, which won the Caméra d'Or and Award of the Youth (French film) at the Cannes Film Festival, and the César Award for Best Debut.Il est interdit d'interdire !
Il est interdit d'interdire ! (means "it is forbidden to forbid") is an aphorism in French created and pronounced for the first time on the radio RTL by Jean Yanne. This sentence became one of the slogans of May 1968.Lycée Hélène Boucher (Paris)
Lycée et collège Hélène Boucher is a senior high school and junior high school on Cours de Vincennes in the 20th arrondissement of Paris.Lycée de Jeunes Filles du Cours de Vincennes, a school for girls, was constructed on a site which previously held a gas factory. It was built in 1935 and established by decree on October 3, 1937. It did not close during World War II, and was renamed after Boucher. The enrollment had a significant increase in the 1950s. Enrollment became stable after Lycée Maurice Ravel, which originated from the annexe des Maraîchers, opened. Lycée Boucher was affected by the May 1968 events in France.Maurice Grimaud
Maurice Grimaud (11 November 1913 – 16 July 2009) was the French Prefect of Police, or police chief, of the city of Paris during the May 1968 general strikes and student uprisings. He is credited with avoiding an escalation of violence and bloodshed during May 1968 unrest.Grimaud was born in Annonay, Ardèche, on 11 November 1913. He originally studied literature.
Grimaud began his career in civil service with the French colonial administration of Morocco in Rabat. He later worked in both Algeria and Germany. Grimaud also worked as a local governor and aide to then-French Interior Minister François Mitterrand.Movement of 22 March
The Mouvement du 22 Mars (Movement of 22 March) was a French student movement at the University of Nanterre founded on 22 March 1968, which carried out a prolonged occupation of the university's administration building. Among its principal leaders was Daniel Cohn-Bendit.
After occupying the building, the school dean called the police, and a public scuffle ensued that garnered the movement media and intellectual attention. This event was one of a series of clashes that led to the nationwide protests in May 1968 in France.
The events of 22 March became the subject of Robert Merle's 1970 novel Derrière la vitre (published in the US in 1972 as Behind the Glass).Nada (1974 film)
Nada (known as The Nada Gang in the USA.) is a Franco-Italian film directed by Claude Chabrol released in 1974 and adapted from the crime novel Nada by Jean-Patrick Manchette. Inspired by the May 1968 events in France, the film has been described as a social thriller.Sorbonne Occupation Committee
The Sorbonne Occupation Committee (French: Comité d'Occupation de la Sorbonne) was a politically radical student group that occupied the Sorbonne during the May 1968 events in France.
The Sorbonne student occupation began Monday, 13 May, after the police withdrew from the Latin Quarter.On 16 May, upon hearing about the successful occupation of the Sud-Aviation factory at Nantes by the workers and students of that city, as well as the spread of the movement to several factories (Nouvelles Messageries de la Presse Parisienne in Paris, Renault in Cléon), the Sorbonne Occupation Committee sent out a communiqué calling for the immediate occupation of all the factories in France and the formation of workers' councils.The Dreamers (film)
The Dreamers is a 2003 romantic drama film directed by Bernardo Bertolucci. The screenplay is by Gilbert Adair, based on his own novel The Holy Innocents. An international co-production by companies from France, the United Kingdom, and Italy, the film tells the story of an American university student in Paris who, after meeting a peculiar brother and sister who are fellow film enthusiasts, becomes entangled in an erotic triangle. It is set against the backdrop of the 1968 Paris student riots. The film makes several references to various movies of classical and New Wave cinema, incorporating clips from films that are often imitated by the actors in particular scenes.
There are two versions: an uncut NC-17-rated version, and an R-rated version that is about three minutes shorter.The Girl on a Motorcycle
The Girl on a Motorcycle (French: La motocyclette), also known in the United States as Naked Under Leather, is a 1968 British-French erotic romantic drama film starring Alain Delon and Marianne Faithfull and featuring Roger Mutton, Marius Goring and Catherine Jourdan. It was listed to compete at the 1968 Cannes Film Festival but the festival was cancelled due to the May 1968 events in France. The Girl on a Motorcycle redefined the leather jacket for motorcyclists into a full body suit that Marianne Faithfull wore in the film. It was the first film to receive an X rating in the United States.