Le Télégramme: You are back with the Le Failler bookstore, on June 20, in front of 150 Rennais in the Salle de la Cité. Are you impatiently awaiting the resumption of meetings?
Riad Sattouf: It’s one aspect of author’s life that I missed the most! Before I was successful, when I was alone in a bookstore, sitting at my table, and an old boy collector of autographs told me that what I was doing was not great, I didn’t miss it. Today I am lucky to have a lot of readers and an audience that doesn’t necessarily read comics. It is very enriching to find them. As I grew up in Rennes and I shot there my first film, Les Beaux gosses, the welcome is always very warm and intense!
Being young and spending a year locked up, seeing each other on the sly or virtually is quite terrible violence.
You are going to talk about Volume 6 of Esther’s notebooks – coming out today – and in which, as in your autobiographical story The Arab of the Future, tells you about the pivotal period of adolescence. Esther is 15 years old, and she is entering third at the time of successive confinements. Was she rushed more than usual?
The Esther I know was upset. She became aware of the impact of our personal actions on others. And she discovers that when a company acts together, it can emerge from a critical situation. Of course, she was happy when President Macron decided to close the schools. But soon enough, she wanted to go back with all her soul! Being young and spending a year locked up, seeing each other on the sly or virtually is quite terrible violence. We can take it lightly, but it is a tragedy. It was a very difficult period for the young people.
Part of your adolescence was spent in the streets of Rennes. Is this still the city you knew? What strikes you when you come back?
I hardly recognize anything when I come back! This is where I feel like I’ve aged… There are new buildings everywhere, and the old buildings have been transformed with lots of pieces of plastic and somewhat modern-ugly architecture… But we can’t fight against modernity. And the need to have to house more and more people! Romantic Rennes no longer really exists …
In interview with Rennaise Louise Bourgoin, you evoke the place of the counter-culture. Is it rather the city or the time that has changed?
I still listen to Canal B! Great radio! Perhaps the counter-culture still exists in Rennes, where there has always been a breeding ground for artists. But in the 90s, it was the city of rock’n’roll, with a whole legend around and a lot of concerts, it was in Rennes that Nirvana started for example. Maybe it does not exist today. The Trans Musicales lost the influence they had during those years. And the pandemic has not helped. Is it a deliberate will or the changing society? It’s hard to say.
And Brittany, do you find it changed?
What I love about Brittany is that environmental issues come to the fore. I find a site called Air Breizh, and which gives the quality of the air. We cannot imagine that from the Armor coast to Saint-Malo, it is extremely bad, often worse than in Paris. In the first beautiful days of spring, it is the moment when the farmers decide to spray the pesticides, a fog of pollution covers the country, irritates the throat, it is ultra-depressing and everyone acts as if nothing is happening. was happening. Air Breizh indicates “bad air quality”… And nothing is done. One has the impression of being in Beijing or Mexico. On this subject, society is waking up, for example, we talked about the journalist Morgane Large, who was threatened in relation to her work on the food industry … There is an ongoing environmental awareness in Brittany, eagerly let it extend again!
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