“There are too many films and many are the same”

In view of the worrying crisis among cinema-goers, around 300 independent experts from the industry – all trades together – signed a forum on May 17, 2022 The world explicitly challenging the policy decisions of the National Center for Cinema and the Moving Image (CNC). Concerned about an ideological turn of the institution, this text called for the holding of States-General of French cinema. A day of professional assembly is scheduled for October 6th at the Institute of the Arab World in Paris to urge the public authorities to their concrete organization. Meeting with producer Saïd Ben Saïd (André Téchiné, Paul Verhoeven, Nadav Lapid, David Cronenberg…), one of the spearheads of this movement, to better understand the issues.

The 2018 report on the financing of French cinema, presented by the then new director of the CNC, Dominique Boutonnat, immediately worried part of the industry. What do you blame him for?

It is a report that ignores the singularity of films by pretending that they are all the same and that, in the name of a purely accounting understanding of culture, pleads for the destruction of public action in the interests of cinema.

What has changed in CNC policy since then?

First of all, let’s remember that the CNC does not distribute subsidies to filmmakers, but returns the money from the exploitation of films to French cinema in the form of automatic and selective support. This automatic promotion is proportional to the film’s commercial success, while films with an artistic dimension but which do not necessarily meet market criteria are selectively promoted. This principle of balance, which has been tried and tested for decades and is the envy of the whole world, is increasingly being called into question by targets for earnings, profitability and performance.

Also read the column: Article reserved for our subscribers “The political decisions of our institutions seriously weaken cinema”

The marginalization of cinema in favor of the audiovisual sector in the CNC’s state aid policy is an important element of your argument.

Dominique Boutonnat wants to merge the support and support mechanisms of cinema with those of the audiovisual sector, starting from the observation that series have gradually filled the void left by part of cinema. The observation is not entirely wrong, but it could not be more partial and biased. With the disappearance of studios that only produce franchises, cinema has become a craft that produces prototypes: the films of Kelly Reichardt and Bennett Miller in America, those of Hong Sang-soo, Lee Chang-dong or Hamaguchi in Asia, Abdellatif Kechiche , Julia Ducournau or Alice Diop in France… The production of series is an industry. It is the rule of quantity. These are two radically different economic and artistic approaches.

You still have 58.98% of this article to read. The following is for subscribers only.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *