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Guy Debord Chronology


1931. Birth of Guy Debord in Paris, December 28.

1951. He takes up with the lettrists.

1952. Howls for Sade. Debord breaks from Isidore Isou’s lettrist group and forms the Lettrist International. Other LI members include Ivan Chtcheglov, Gil J Wolman, and Michèle Bernstein (Debord’s first wife). Publications include the bulletin Potlatch and several articles in the Belgian surrealist journal Les Lèvres Nues.

1957. The LI merges with radical avant-garde currents of other countries to form the Situationist International. SI members include Dutch architect Constant, Italian painter Pinot-Gallizio, Danish artist Asger Jorn, and Scottish novelist Alexander Trocchi. Debord edits the group’s journal, Internationale Situationniste.

1958. Mémoires.

1959. On the Passage of a Few Persons Through a Rather Brief Unity of Time.

1961. Critique of Separation.

1962. Exclusion of opportunist artist elements (German “Spurists” and Scandinavian “Nashists”) marks the SI’s development in a more radical political direction. Newer members during this period include Raoul Vaneigem (Belgian), Attila Kotányi (Hungarian exile), René Viénet (French), and Mustapha Khayati (Tunisian).

1964. Contre le cinéma. Debord moves in with Alice Becker-Ho, his wife for the rest of his life.

1966. Strasbourg scandal: Khayati’s pamphlet On the Poverty of Student Life published at student union expense.

1967. Publication of Debord’s The Society of the Spectacle and Vaneigem’s The Revolution of Everyday Life.

1968. May 1968 revolt. Agitation by SI-influenced Enragés group triggers street fighting and occupation of universities, which in turn inspires a nationwide wildcat strike: within two weeks virtually all the factories of France are occupied by over ten million workers. Situationists and Enragés push for extension and radicalization of this movement, against the Communist Party and labor union bureaucrats trying to stop it. Following its defeat they escape to Belgium to avoid the temporary repression and write Enragés and Situationists in the Occupations Movement.

1969-1970. While post-May notoriety inspires the formation of numerous “pro-situationist” groups around the world, the SI itself goes through various internal crises.

1971. Debord meets Gérard Lebovici, who publishes his subsequent books and finances his last three films.

1972. The Real Split in the International. Dissolution of the SI.

1973. The Society of the Spectacle (film).

1975. Refutation of All the Judgments, Pro or Con, Thus Far Rendered on the Film “The Society of the Spectacle”.

1970s. Sojourns in Italy.

1978. In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni. Oeuvres cinématographiques complètes.

1980s. Sojourns in Spain.

1984. Assassination of Lebovici. Debord withdraws all his films from circulation.

1985. Considerations on the Assassination of Gérard Lebovici.

1987. A Game of War.

1988. Comments on the Society of the Spectacle.

1989. Panegyric, Volume 1.

1993. “Cette mauvaise réputation...”

1994. Suffering from an increasingly painful terminal illness, Debord commits suicide November 30.

1995. Television broadcast of Guy Debord, son art et son temps.

2001. Alice Debord begins the rerelease of all of Debord’s films with a complete retrospective at the Venice Film Festival.


Chronology from Guy Debord’s Complete Cinematic Works (AK Press, 2003, translated and edited by Ken Knabb), which includes the scripts of all six of Debord’s films along with illustrations, documents and extensive annotations. For further information, see Guy Debord’s Films.

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