Le cinéma français: une nécrologie.

Cinema-goers turn their backs on French films

The Local

Cinema fans in France are turning their backs on French films. The French film industry may be renowned world-wide but ‘Made in France’ films are no longer drawing the audiences they used to. Audience figures for the 1980s showed that despite the fact that France made half the number of films it does today, they were seen by more people domestically. A French film now draws in 35 percent less cinema audiences than 30 years ago. France’s Ministry of Culture and the Centre National du Cinema (CNC) however, has dismissed concerns about the number of French films being made, claiming it is necessary to allow the emergence of new talent. French TV stations are required to air at least 40-percent home-produced content while another 20 percent must come from Europe. Cinema-goers pay a levy on each ticket to help fund the French film industry, which many believe could not survive without such support.

Must-see French movies of the millennium

Chances are you've seen The Artist and Amélie, but here other cinematic experiences from the land of Truffaut and Godard, all made this millennium, that are well worth your time.

Entre Les Murs (The Class, 2008) : A teacher guides a group of ethnically-diverse and troubled pupils through French literature.

Martyrs (2008): ‘Martyrs’ has the female friendship of ‘Heavenly Creatures,’ mixed with the gore of ‘Hostel’ and the creepiness of Roman Polanski’s ‘The Apartment.’ But what appears on the surface to be just an ultra-violent and gruesome revenge fantasy gone wrong, is actually a deeply-moving parable about guilt, friendship, and the human condition. Only in France.

Polisse (2011): The men and women of the Paris police department’s Child Protection Unit separate immigrant families and interview abused toddlers.

Un Prophète (2009): An illiterate Arab is sent to prison for six-years, for assaulting the police. He is taken under the wing (and the iron fist) of a Corsican mob boss in a French prison. When he connects with the Muslim community in jail, things get complicated, as he slowly learns about his Muslim heritage.

Des Hommes et des Dieux (Men and Gods, 2010): Nine Trappist monks live in the monastery of Tibhirine cheek-by-jowl with the predominantly Muslim Algerians. The narrative is based on the real-time assassination of seven monks who were killed in 1996.

Les Intouchables (2011): Friendship blossoms between an unlikely duo: a quadriplegic white millionaire and his ex-criminal Black Algerian caretaker.

La Vie d’Adèle – Chapitres 1 & 2 (Blue is the Warmest Colour, 2013): French director Abdellatif Kechiche explores sexuality and freedom of expression. Adele finds her imagination and desires catalyzed into rampant activity by blue-haired young artist Emma, with whom she falls in love.

Le Passé (The Past, 2013): An Iranian, Ahmad, played by Ali Mosaffa, comes back to France to finalise his divorce. Tensions are heightened between his ex-wife and their daughter as a result of a new relationship that the daughter disapproves of. Iranian Asghar Farhadi wrote and directed the film.

L’inconnu Du Lac (Stranger by the Lake, 2013): A gripping psychological thriller infused with a generous helping of homoeroticism. An eerie psychological thriller replete with explicit homoerotic shenanigans and murderous intrigue.

Tom à la Ferme (Tom at the Farm, 2013): A young advertising copywriter finds himself embroiled in a perverted game with the family of his recently deceased boyfriend, Guillaume.

Deux Jours, Une Nuit (Two Days One Night, 2014): Sandra faces redundancy following a long leave of absence due to her depression. The must convince her erstwhile co-workers to vote for her to stay rather than take a large bonus. The strains of a capitalist society alienate individuals from their fellow beings.

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