Saturday, 29 December 2012

Are French Movies Worth Their Hefty Price?



You already know it, we French are different. No, seriously. I mean it. Right now my home country is torn because Gerard Depardieu, one of the most famous French actors, has left France to avoid paying punitive taxes. I have never seen France so polarised into two opposing factions: those who support his move, and the others who can not find words that are harsh enough to blame him. It is a good thing that we don't have any guillotine left, because I am darn sure that some rich and famous would be sent to it.

That's not the end. We French have what we call a 'cultural exception'. We are special. Different. We have our own film stars and our own movies. What I didn't know (how naive of me!) is that we pay a hefty price for this. Most French movies are heavily subsidised by the government and our (internationally unknown) actors are paid more than global superstars.
Here is a comparison: Philippe Lioret, a French director (have you heard of him? No? Well, me neither) earns twice as much as Steven Soderbergh (I am pretty sure that you have heard of him). Basically, the gravy train that benefits some happy few is financed by French taxpayers. Don't get me wrong, there are good French movies, but the sad fact of the matter is that most French movies loose money, whereas an acting elite is getting paid a lot more than their anglo-Saxon colleagues in the process. (You can see the article explaining it all -in French if you click n this link: http://www.lemonde.fr/a-la-une/article/2012/12/28/les-acteurs-francais-sont-trop-payes_1811151_3208.html)

This got me thinking: is there such a thing as a cultural exception? What exactly does it mean?
Look: this is my British face:

And this is my French face.

Which one do you prefer?

Look closer: this is Marion Cotillard' (well-known French actress) arm.


This is Angelina Jolie's.

Which one is better? Which one should be paid more? I am not so sure.

Come to think of it, it is unbelievable to see how many people believe that they are different. The French are, in this instance, no exception!

And let me also tell you that I recently got into Bollywood movies and I love them. I highly recommend 'like stars on earth' with Aamir Khan, about a dyslexic boy. The movie cost 2.20 Millions dollars, or less than a fourth of a medium-sized French production and is simply fantastic. Here is the trailer:


In short, I think that we French need to realise that there is a world out there, and that it is high time not to hide behind the walls of our cultural exception.
On this note, I wish you all very good festive season.

4 comments:

  1. I hear that the 75% tax rate may be declared illegal by the courts so all this fuss could be for nothing.

    I find it bizarre, this 'French exception' in everything from health to culture to economics. Why do the French think they are so different that they need to declare to be an exception in everything? Is it because they don't follow the "Anglo-Saxon" systems and yet do very nicely thank you? Is it part of a French 'up yours' to the rest of the world (since the long past high days when French diplomacy was central to world order)?

    Whatever it is, they are very proud of it, and I dread to think what would happen to national pride if it all came tumbling down.

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  2. We are special. Just don't ask me why. I have a British passport now and I have to admit that I am struggling with a certain sense of entitlement in France...Maybe I am more British than I thought...

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  3. Just love the originality of French films; fortunately Maori TV screen a few.

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  4. I love the Bollywood movie you are talking about. I love Indian movie. As long as they convey meaning and are entertaining. But the whole point is I don't see what and how the budget matters. I have seen small budget films do really well and some big budget movies fall flat.

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