French cinema is far from reflecting the diversity of French society. Of the 320 films released in 2016, half are mainstream comedies that still caricature women, youth or the suburbs. Yet things are changing and the next generation is here. In muzica noua you can catch the best glimpse of it.
The Great Mop, classic French cinema
Record attendance in 2016 in French cinemas, with 213 million admissions, attendance at cinemas reached the second-best place in 50 years. Yet it is not a French cinema that has attracted the public. As every year or almost for 15 years, it is the American blockbusters that appeal to the French.
Nevertheless, 18 French films out of more than 300 exceeded one million spectators in 2016: The Tuches, the American Dream, Camping or Radin in mind. These are the famous French comedies that account for 50% of film releases and aspire almost the entire budget of the film industry.
The cinema is mostly comedy for white men
Liam Engle is a screenplay player since 2008. He works for major television channels, which is for companies that mainly finance French cinema. A little over a year ago, he released a study, a sort of robot portrait of the French film script and that’s what it looks like:
And young people do not care
This week, Cinema pour tous, which promotes cinema among all teens in Ile de France, is celebrating its 10th birthday. 23,000 young people attended screenings in their schools this year, with workshops to teach them to watch a film. Yet, for most of them, it is still and always the American cinema which likes most. Why? Because French cinema cannot talk about young people, let alone young people from the suburbs.
EmericGallego, 21, comes from Neuilly Sur Marne. He’s watching 30 films a month, but he’s bucking French cinema. The paradox is that more and more movies are dealing with the suburbs. It is even a blank check for public subsidies, as are the topics of homosexuality, social dramas or the issue of the migration crisis. For young filmmakers it is often a case of conscience: must it fit into the criteria defined by the profession or the critics at the risk of caricaturing a little more French cinema?
Jérémie Laurent 30 years old is an author-director. In a short film, “Jacques is thirsty”, he wanted to defend rurality. His film was shunned by festivals. Meanwhile, the films in the suburbs are multiplying around the same triptych: violence, drugs, sex. Of course, the recent Divine de HoudaBenyamina seduced the first concerned but he struggles to surprise. Alex, 21, wants French cinema to finally come out of the suburbs.
Yet it turns, something is changing
Not young enough, not enough feminine, not enough mixed French cinema? The true face of French society is struggling to get to the screens. Comedians, directors and even producers of diversity are gradually pushing the doors of the small endogamous world of the seventh art.
Laurence Lascary is a young producer from Guadeloupe. In 2008, at the age of 28, she decided, without contact and almost without experience, to create her own production company with this objective: to ensure that cinema finally represents the French society in its diversity.