In 2008, at the publication of her book Les Années (The Years), Annie Ernaux is recognized by a virtually unanimous press as one of the major writers of our time.
“The only real memory is the material one” says Annie Ernaux. It is upon a “concrete memory” that all her books are built.
For her, every place, every thing, a picture, a song, an expression of everyday language , an event, corresponds to and channels a certain moment in time. If her books are autobiographical, it is a new form of autobiography, a collective one. A life, for her, is a unique experience but it is primarily a common place.
This is why her writing speaks to us, we are concerned. Throughout our histories, particular as they may be, each of us finds hers.
“My books represent the closest merger between the collective and the individual.” (Annie Ernaux)
She does not dissociate the intimate from the social. With her, it is never about introspection, never a narcissistic approach, but rather the transmission of a life experience.
In addition, each of her books is tied to a place of life, and to a theme. The Haute-Normandie, between Lillebonne, Yvetot and Rouen, was and remains the decisive place of her beginnings, of the memory and of writing. Together with Cergy, where she lives today, this region occupies a very special place in her work.
In the documentary, she establishes with the viewer an intimate rapport. Through photos, through the places where she lived the most important events of his life, Annie Ernaux makes us to feel the passage of time since the end of the war and until today. This portrait in situation of Annie Ernaux is also the overview of an era.