I had sent to the Rencontres d’Arles a slideshow of my pictures created by the Pompidou Centre, and which had already been screened there.
I had recently become editor-in-chief of Sygma, and the slideshow was a retrospective of my 20 years’ reporting. Lots of work, including sound, had gone into the show.
I was very honoured that the Rencontres should invite me to screen it, and I accepted.
That was the night: 8 July 1982 at 10.30pm in the Théâtre Antique, where History acquired its full meaning.
The day had got off to a good start with a very agreeable lunch at Le Van Gogh, where I had the pleasure of meeting Agnès Varda and chatting with her at leisure.
I was very proud of the honour bestowed on me, and, accompanied by a few close friends, I was one of the first people to take their seat on the stone stands.
It was a beautiful summer’s evening: hot and wonderful. The light faded, and screening time approached.
The stone grandstand were deserted: with only twenty or so enthusiasts. I felt a flop coming on. And then shouts and screams began to emanate from the surrounding houses, despairing Ah’s and Oh’s. Then long silences, and more shouting.
It was the semi-final of the soccer World Cup in Seville.
In the theatre, we had no pictures of the game but could follow with the sound. When the 90 minutes ended, around 11pm, the theatre was still empty.
It was still nil-nil. There would be extra playing time, unfortunately for me and my slideshow.
By this time it was getting very late. With my friends, I thought about slipping away from the venue, thinking that the evening’s most important event (my screening) had been cancelled.
In Seville, extra time ended and the referee blew for a penalty shoot-out. France led 3-1. In Arles the temperature was rising still further, as screams of encouragement rose from the rooftops.
Never have I detested football so intensely.
Then, crash!bang!! The German goalkeeper, Schumacher, blocked Platini’s spot-kick.
Victory for Germany.
And Bureau didn’t score!
Archives of the Eye of Photography – Henri Bureau, 2011