French retain crown as Europe’s film buffs (but it’s thanks to American movies)

French cinemagoers secured their title as Europe’s most regular visitors to the silver screen last year, new stats revealed. But their choice of films might worry the French cinema industry.

French retain crown as Europe's film buffs (but it's thanks to American movies)
France secured its reputation as a nation of cinephiles after it sold more cinema tickets than any other country in Europe last year, according to the French centre for cinema, the CNC. 
A staggering 213 million cinema tickets were bought in France in 2016, leaving the Brits' 168 million and Germans’ 121 million tickets look paltry in comparison. 
The figure may not sound that much, but on average, the French went to the cinema 3.3 times in 2016, beating the average Brit's 2.6 visits, as well as audiences in Spain, Italy and Germany. 
“Popular and affordable, the cinema remains France’s favourite cultural outing,” said the CNC president Frédérique Bredin.
But even though France topped the table it doesn't mean it was all good news for France's cinema industry.
According to the figures, the country is losing its grip on protecting its culture from Americanisation, with four of the top five most-watched films in 2016 hailing from the US. 
Animated film Zootopia, made in the US, was crowned France’s top-watched film in 2016, with 4.78 million tickets sold. 
American blockbusters Rogue One: a Star Wars story, The Revenant, and Moana also made the top five. 
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part Two
The only French film to make the cut was Les Tuche 2, a French comedy sequel, and even that was based in America. 
The trend towards watching American films may worry French movie makers but it is nothing new. In 2013 The Local reported how stats showed a shift on the film choice of cinema goers in France towards American movies.

According to BFMTV, audience figures for the 1980s showed that although France made half the number of films it does today, they were seen by more people domestically.

In the 1980s, French films accounted for 45.3 percent of audience figures in France, compared to 39.3 percent in between 2007 and 2012.

The study revealed that a French film pulled in 443,746 cinemagoers on average in the 1980s, compared to 288,657 between 2007 and 2012. In other words, a French film now draws in 35 percent less cinema audiences than 30 years ago.

And the French often enjoy mocking their home made movies for sticking to similar tired themes.

Other stats released by the CNC this week showed the number of younger people visiting the cinema dropped considerably last year from 2015. 
More than a fifth of 2015’s cinemagoers were aged 15-24, but last year that figure shrunk to just 17.6 percent. 
The number of people aged 50 or over heading to the cinema also plunged by 10 percent.
However, people are going to the cinema more regularly, with the figures for repeat visitors leaping from a third in 2015 to 56 percent last year.
The number of occasional cinemagoers also cut dramatically from more than 60 percent to 18 percent. 
France’s film industry appears to be booming as the number of cinema screens in the country grew by 102, with a ratio of one cinema seat for every 58 citizens. 
by Anna Schaverien


French film club for English speakers returns to cinemas

Lost in Frenchlation, a film club that screens French films with English subtitles in Paris, is returning to cinemas this weekend after holding virtual screenings during lockdown.

French film club for English speakers returns to cinemas

Wednesday saw the reopening of cafés, restaurants, museums, theatres and cinemas in France since October.

This means that Lost in Frenchlation can return to cinemas, and film buffs who struggle to watch French movies without English subtitles can meet up again this weekend at the Luminor Hotel de Ville where the first screening is taking place this Sunday.

READ ALSO: French cinemas face 400-film backlog as they prepare to reopen

What’s on the programme?

The first event taking place on Sunday, May 23rd is a screening of Albert Dupontel’se César awarded film “Adieu les cons” (Bye bye Morons), a comedy drama about a woman who tries to find her long-lost child with a help of a man in the middle of a burnout and a blind archivist.

On Sunday, May 30th there will be a Mother’s Day special screening of “Énorme”, comedy, starring Marina Foïs and Jonathan Cohen, at Club de l’Étoile in the 17th arrondissement in Paris. 

On Saturday, May 22nd, there will be a virtual screening of “Joli Mai” by Chris Marker (1963) which inspired the documentary film Le Joli Mai 2020. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with Chris Marker specialist & journalist Jean-Michel Frodon.

Lost in Frenchlation is a company that sets up screenings of recent French film releases with English subtitles to give Paris’s large international community access to French culture and meet others in the same situation.

For more information, check out their website or sign up to their newsletter (link here).