On September 20, 2000, Marie-José Pérec, the big favorite in the 400 meters at the Olympic Games, hastily left Sydney the day before the competition. Victim of a hostile climate, she flees. When a television team finds her in an airport, the contact almost turns into a fight. Psychological shipwreck of a great athlete who will reinforce her image as a whimsical sportswoman.
Guest of 9and Sport, literature and cinema (SLC) festival, organized by the Lumière Institute, Marie-José Pérec appeared as a peaceful woman, ready to talk about herself at length, with perspective and sensitivity, interviewed by Thierry Frémaux, the director of the Institute. But also answering questions from the public and signing his book of memories, alongside Paul-Henry Bizon, who devoted an astonishing novel to him, Olympia.
Sport, openness and revenge on fate
What does Marie-José Pérec say? “Sydney? I accept it today. No one has a linear life. While high-level athletes must constantly show that they are strong, keep their heads held high, I cracked up. My weakness took over everything. When I returned to France, I stayed at home for three months without going out, without washing. »
She does not cultivate nostalgia for her great era. All his medals are gathering dust in his cellar. Mother of a 12-year-old son, she has changed. “But every day, I meet someone on the street or in a store who comes to talk to me about what I’ve done. This kindness gives me goosebumps. »
Marie-José Pérec came late to athletics in Guadeloupe, without knowing anything about it, or harboring the slightest dreams of conquest. Her natural gifts, plus work, carried her to the top, supported by her grandmother, a stranger to this world, who followed her exploits. “When I arrived in France, I was not accepted everywhere. My medals made me lose my skin color. I was no longer who I am, a black woman. However, I wanted, through my performances, to mark my era and change the way we look. »
A verve à la Audiard
Sport, openness and revenge on destiny… Revelation of judo, five-time world champion and Olympic champion at Tokyo 2020, Clarisse Agbégnénou revealed that she was born premature at seven months, with her twin brother, who had kidney surgery at 1 month and considered almost dead, before suddenly being reborn.
Bernard Lacombe, former footballer for Olympique Lyonnais, Saint-Étienne, Girondins de Bordeaux and the France team, also told how, from his village and pushed by his grandfather, he forged by country football. Moving testimony, told with an Audiard verve and a touching humility, where alternated, without boasting, modest hours and moments of glory.
→ 2020 EDITION OF SLC. Nostalgia, guest of the Sport, Literature and Cinema festival
SLC is also a series of films and documentaries on sport, some of which are presented by the Olympic Foundation for Culture and Heritage, which has brought out some gems from its archives, such as WhiteRockby Tony Maylam, on the Innsbruck Winter Olympics in 1976. There are also rarities, such as The king of the pedalscreened in cine-concert, silent film by Maurice Champreux, co-scripted by Henri Decoin, shot in the middle of the Tour de France 1925, with the indescribable Georges Biscot.
An audience of moviegoers
Or striking elements like backfire, the investigation conducted by Canal+ into the terrifying accident that occurred to Formula 1 driver Romain Grosjean on November 29, 2020. Prisoner of his burning car, stuck in his tub, he had accepted the idea of dying, before rebelling thinking of his children. Driven by the will to survive, he succeeded, in extremis, burnt hands, broken knee, to extricate himself from this blaze…
SLC is also a series of photo exhibitions by The Team, among its collection of 12 million photos, a fabulous yet under-exploited wealth. SLC is also and above all the meeting of an audience of cinephiles and the curious baited by the poster. It is this fine blend of sport and culture that ensures its success and sustainability.
SLC has also been an ephemeral bookstore for nearly ten years, animated by signing sessions, which sells more than five hundred books in four days.
Among the 2022 vintage:
– The Straight Lineby Yves Gibeau (Emphasis);
– The Passion according to Saint-Etienneby Christophe Verneyre (Emphasis);
– The Society of the peloton, philosophy of the individual in the groupby Guillaume Martin (Grasset);
– Football Instinctby Bernard Lacombe (Solar);
– Born to playby Alain Giresse (Robert Laffont);
– Olympiaby Paul-Henry Bizon (Gallimard);
– The Eye of Sport, the most beautiful images of photographers, The Team (Solar).