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Jacques Renard

Born in Béthune (north of France) in 1944, Jacques Renard has long sought to show the real life of minors, the history of this unknown working class. After his first movie in 1976 (Monsieur Albert), he started working on collecting seventy years of oral history, from 1914 to 1980, covering four generations of minors. A coalmining company allowed him to shoot in safe conditions and, for the first time on TV, the audience watched the extreme working conditions in several mines. “My work as a filmmaker was to use the memory of the miners to make the viewer discover that this memory was hidden, that the people never had the right to speak, that those who spoke for them generally had a discourse that varied according to political and economic needs. My work as a filmmaker was to humbly collect their memory as best as possible, to put in place a system that would allow them to speak with confidence and to have access to what others had said.” He continued his career in cinema with the film Blanche et Marie in 1985 and has since devoted himself to writing and directing documentaries and fictions for television.