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Interview with Romain Goupil

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posted on 2021-03-11, 09:45 authored by Robert GildeaRobert Gildea
Goupil, Romain
Algerian War/ Charonne/Union des Étudiants Communistes/ Jeunesse Communiste Révolutionnaire/ Comités d’Action Lycéens/ Mourir à trente ans

Born 12 July 1951, Paris, 17th arrondissement. Family Sephardic Jewish. Grandfather on mother’s side an Italian immigrant, on father’s side from Champagne, grandmother from ‘southern Europe’, Spanish or Italian. Father a cameraman, parents communist until 1956. Brought up on Butte de Montmartre.

Lycée Condorcet, bourgeois, harsh discipline, average bored student.

Political Apprenticeship
Politicised by end of Algerian War, demonstrations over Charonne deaths 1962. Then anti-Vietnam war – Mouvement de la paix, but from 1966-7 pro North Vietnamese victory. Broke with Communist Party (PCF), attended to study group run by ex- Union des Étudiants Communistes (UEC) students such as Daniel Bensaïd and Henri Weber who founded Jeunesse Communiste Révolutionnaire (JCR).

Expelled from Condorcet Dec. 1967, found place in Lycée Voltaire, ‘hard core of extreme left’. Formed Comité d’Action Lycéen (CAL) at his Lycée to defend liberty of expression in lycées. Met Michel Recanati who founded CAL at Lycée Jacques Decour.
Sees CAL ‘spearhead’ of 68. Built barricades in revolutionary tradition, aim to overtake PCF to become ‘new revolutionary communist party’. No link with workers - factories were held by PCF, who denounced gauchistes.

Post 1968
Jeunesse Communiste Révolutionnaire was banned 12 June 1968. Active as Trotskyist in Ligue communiste, organising demonstrations s eg funeral of Pierre Overney 1972, until massive clash with extreme right 21 June 1973. Recanati was disciplined by the Ligue for this drama and committed suicide in 1978.

Worked in cinema after 1969/70 as technician, assistant to Polansky and Godard.
Goupil’s film Mourir à trente ans (1982), was a tribute to his activist comradeship with Recanati.
See Romain Goupil, Entretiens avec Bernard Lefort (Paris, Punctum, 2005)


Around 1968: Activism, Networks, Trajectories

Arts and Humanities Research Council

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Romain Goupil

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Robert Gildea

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Alice Moscaritolo​

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