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Sex doesn’t sell: Last erotic cinema in Paris to close its doors

The French capital's last porn cinema, The Beverley is set to screen its final "little death" as it gets ready to close its doors at the end of the year.

Sex doesn't sell: Last erotic cinema in Paris to close its doors
Photo: AFP
It's the end of an era. 
 
The last vestige of Paris' once bountiful erotic cinema offering is set to close its doors at the end of 2017 when its boss Maurice Laroche, aged 74, retires. 
 
“I did not see the time passing because it was a pleasure to come to work,” said Laroche, according to a report in Le Parisien.
 
But, Laroche, who has been the director of The Beverley in the capital's 2nd arrondissement since he bought it in 1993, said that in recent years the cinema had faced increasing competition from online porn. 
 
Due to competition from the internet “on which 10-year-old kids can see any porn movie,” the number of customers has “gone down,” said Laroche. 
 
Photo: AFP
 
“Today, when we sell 600 tickets a week, we are happy. Twenty years ago, we sold 1,500-1,600,” he adds. 
 
“In the early 1980s, the atmosphere was happy,” Laroche said. “There were 20 porn cinemas between Republic and Opera. The National Film Center had up to 44 screens devoted to X-rated films in the capital in 1976, and there were 110 across France.”
 
Most of the customers are regulars who have been visiting the cinema, which is discreetly positioned on the quiet Rue de la ville neuve, for more than 60 years, Laroche explains, adding that despite that the clientele “goes from 18 years to 101 years and we have all levels of society.”
 
The veteran of the erotic cinema industry added that “a great politician once told me that he symbolically handed me the Legion of Honor for the good I do to humanity.” 
 
The cinema has also hosted infamous “couples nights”. 
 
“We are also a place of reproduction. Fifteen years ago, a couple came to introduce me to their baby, who they said was conceived at The Beverley!”

FILM

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
Photo: LOIC VENANCE / AFP

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).

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