The great era of “Liberation”

Like all good ideas, it was following an informal conversation between an editor from Casterman and Marie Colmant that the idea was born of graphically recounting the crazy years within Release in the 80s and 90s by two of its two troublemakers – namely Marie Colmant and Gérard Lefort.

When the story begins, Marie Colmant and Gérard Lefort are not yet the great feathers of the French daily newspaper that they will become. The meeting between the latter and Marguerite Duras is a moment of anthology. Or when a very young journalist tells the writer that he doesn’t understand what she has just written…

Behind the scenes

Liberation, our crazy years is an incredible behind-the-scenes account of a newspaper that should be of interest to as many people as possible, not just those who read it at the time – the over-50s, basically. The young recruits of today’s daily newspapers would be wide-eyed.

It recounts a form of journalism that no longer exists, without sinking into nostalgia for a bygone era.

After agreeing on the period to be covered, Marie Colmant and Gérard Lefort proceeded to a kind of ping pong game of memories. While at the base, the anecdotes already lend themselves to smiles, their imagery by Pochep only reinforces the enjoyable side. A look, a mouth, the detail that kills: this is where the strength of the illustrator lies (Freezing Fluid) in addition to the fact that we immediately perceive that he got caught up in the game and informed in all directions to master his subject as well. Thus sketched Marguerite Duras, Serge July (the editor), Jean-Paul Gaultier, Clint Eastwood (a memorable interview), Belmondo, and many journalists of the time.

As if we lived them

We enter these “crazy years” as if we lived them. They were crazy for Marie Colmant and Gérard Lefort because their professional and private lives merged – “We were going to work whistling and wondering what the day was going to hold for us as surprises, as pleasures, as giggles”. What about the way the Cannes Film Festival or Fashion Week were covered?

This graphic novel is also a more tragic testimony to the AIDS years, when men and women (including quite a few of the interested parties’ colleagues) succumbed to it. The opportunity to “to hug one last time”.

Besides his puns in the titles, Release was (and remains) renowned for the quality of its obituaries. To learn that Bayon (responsible for the rock service) considered that a brief for the death of Michael Jackson would suffice leaves speechless. But Gérard Lefort, head of the culture department, not hearing it that way, he woke up Eric Dahan in New York who replied: “Darling, how many slips do you want?” This exchange sums up in itself the spirit that reigned in this daily life like no other.

-> ★ ★ ★ Marie Colmant, Gérard Lefort and Pochep | Liberation, our crazy years (1980-1996) | graphic novel | Casterman | 176 pages, €23

Leave a Comment