31 janvier 2012

Festival Télérama 2012

This exceptional "festival" organised every year (15th edition) by French cultural newspaper Télérama, brings back on COMMERCIAL screens (that participate to the event, it is more than 1 event in one museum where films get only screened once by an art-friendly institution and only in NYC for example...) for a week the "best films" of the previous year. The choices are Télérama's taste, subjective and idiosyncratic, but they are amongst the most important films. Naturally slightly biased in favour of French films (a third of 15 selected) because the event is a reflection of the French (artfilm) zeitgeist, but as you see it is no way overwhelming (1 is a Finnish co-prod, another is belgium), it roughly corresponds to the proportion of French-language films on the admission market in France. The rest being all foreign (and not ONLY from Hollywood!).
So for most of these films this is a theatrical re-run (only a couple are still running at the moment because their release was in the past few months). And look at how many screens they get! It's more than on the USA market, on first run, when the novelty appeal is at the maximum... There are still arthouse exhibitors wanting to screen artfilms on second-run! There are still spectators who want to watch these (second-hand) films, months after the marketing campaign of the première!

Look how many screens Kaurismaki's deadpan-grim-comedy gets... it reaches the "blockbuster" level of distribution, which is almost equivalent to 3000 screens on the USA market, where it only came out on 23 screens. One important factor is that the film is originally shot in French language, with French actors... but it's very much a Kaurismaki style, meaning an acquired taste and a very limited "niche" for art film lovers. Well, in France, it still sells as well as a commercial event movie!

If A Separation had the same distribution in the USA it would open on over 1200 screens! Can you imagine the shock? This is what Americans call a "Wide Release", meaning reaching out nationwide, beyond just NYC, LA and Chicago... there is no home advantage for an Iranian film, it is considered a foreign film on both markets. I don't know how many screens it was released on in Iran, but it was some kind of a "blockbuster" at home (even if it is somehow critical of the government!) How do you explain that the totalitarian Iranian government is LESS discriminatory against this pamphlet than the American market is where it is totally harmless to the dominant ideologies? You can see on IMDb that many countries smaller than the USA opened it on more screens!

There are 7 times more screens on the USA market than in France. So the middle column indicates the equivalent of screens for a larger market like the USA. Not only for these few films listed here, but for most artfilms, the distribution in the USA isn't equivalent to what is happening in France, but also INFERIOR to the raw numbers a market 7 times smaller like France! The 40000 American screens cannot show as many art films as the 5000 French screens... go figure. Even if you suck at math, if you can't read graphs... this is a situation pretty easy to grasp for anybody. It becomes obvious that the concept of an "arthouse" niche has a very different meaning in the USA.
The only titles that have a better USA distribution are 2 American films, Drive and Black Swan. Remember this event is only a RE-RUN of films that already had their full commercial first-run (see comment below)

Titles re-run commercial screens (France; Jan 2012) x 7 (FR-USA screen ratio) commercial first-run screens (USA 2011)
Le Havre (FR-Finland) 414 [B] 2898 23 [I]
Les Neiges du Kilimandjaro (FR) 234 [M] 1638 not released
A Separation (Iran) 176  [M] 1232 31 [I]
La guerre est déclarée (FR) 148  [M] 1036 not released
L'Exercice de l'Etat (FR) 145  [M] 1015 not released
Drive (USA) 136 [M] 952 2904 [B]
Habemus Papam (Italy) 134  [M] 938 not released
Incendies (Canada) 117  [M] 819 90 [N]
Il était une fois en Anatolie (Turkey) 107  [M] 749 1 [I]
La Piel que Habito (Spain) 105  [M] 735 116 [N]
Black Swan (USA) 100  [M] 700 2407 [B]
Tomboy (FR) 90 [N]  630 9 [I]
Le Gamin au vélo (Belgium) 80  [N]  560 not released
Les bien-aimés (FR) 41  [N]  287 not released
Essential Killing (USA) 20 [N]  140 not released
[B] = Blockbuster distribution ;  [M] = Mainstream distribution ;   [N]  = Niche distribution ; [I] = Near Invisible

The middle column (FR-USA screen ratio) is the number of screens the film should get IF the USA market was the equivalent to 7 times France, which is the ratio between available screens on each market. It gives an indication to convert the numbers in a scale more familiar to USA box office numbers.
The French films (or French language films) benefit from hometurf advantage, so it's unfair to compare them directly to a distribution inside English-language territory. Most of them aren't even distributed anyway. We know what range of distribution they will get though...
However the American films get almost the same treatment on the French market, inside a French-language territory, than at home.
Drive was released on 363 screens max during its first-run in France, which is the equivalent to 2541 screens on the USA market.
Black Swan was released on 472 screens max during its first-run in France, which is the equivalent to 3304 screens on the USA market.
Notwithstanding the fact that half of the most important films of 2011 (according to Télérama) haven't been released in the USA, the few that did get picked up by American distributors are not given the mainstream distribution that they get in France, and for some, not even a Niche distribution... just a pity screening, out of spite.

For reference, Intouchables, the latest French-made blockbuster, reached 898 screens nationwide (which corresponds to 6286 screens for the USA market, twice the blockbuster level), with over 18 million spectators so far. And the new local blockbuster sensation "La vérité si je mens 3" was released this week on 1027 (which is the level of an American blockbuster like an Harry Potter carpet-bombing distribution in France, the maximum number of screens we see given to a single film on the French market)

Related :

29 janvier 2012

Shit Movie Reviewers say

Top10 Epic Fails of 2011 for the Film Press :
  1. "One thing I truly believe is that real critics and real cinephiles should have absolutely no track with common sense" (Adrian Martin Ph.D) PURE BULLSHIT (BRAINWASHING)
  2. "We should give the audience the tools to quit their jobs so they can devote their life to cinema" (Chris FujiwaraPURE BULLSHIT (DELUSION)
  3. "Meek's Cutoff is a waste of everyone's time, effort and money" (Neil Young) CENSORSHIP OF ARTISTIC EXPRESSION (DICTATORSHIP)
  4. "As I get older, I find I'm suffering from a kind of culture fatigue and have less interest in eating my cultural vegetables, no matter how good they may be for me..." (Dan Kois) ANTI-INTELLECTUALISM (COMPLACENCY)
  5. "The [Cannes] festival is something of France's answer to the Oscars (more so than the Césars, its annual film awards) and a modest bulwark against Hollywood hegemony." (Manohla Dargis) MISCHARACTERISATION (DELUSION)
  6. "Being a contrarian can be staying in your own personal comfort zone, of your taste, and your likes and dislikes. And I think that's indeed a danger. It can be something that is very self-indulgent." (Cristina Nord) INTELLECTUAL DISHONESTY (BRAINWASHING) 
  7. "There is always someone worse off than you. Watching starving peasants, or people in terrible dire straits, you leave the cinema and you think ' Well maybe things aren't so bad' In a way that's confirming you in your comfort zone" (Neil Young) SOPHISTRY (BRAINWASHING) 
  8. "[..] Il n'en va pas de même dans la critique. Celle-ci a une longue histoire de « copinages »" (Independencia) INTELLECTUAL DISHONESTY (BRAINWASHING) 
  9. "Therefore, 'film school' -and the attitudes and stigmas commonly associated with it- does not necessarily require a new kind of analysis, for no new kind of analysis can exist for a sensibility that has been heretofore hardly been analysed." (Ricky d'Ambrose) GRANDILOQUENCE (MANNERISM) 
  10. "That's right, when all else fails, denouncing this or that film festival for failing to measure up in some way or other works everytime. All you have to do is invent some expectation or obligation that said festival level failed to meet, add water, and voilà! And let's face it, everybody likes a good fight as long as they're not the punching bag. You think I'm joking, I'm not joking." (Gavin Smith) PETTINESS (COMPLACENCY) 
This is not reasonable nor responsible to declare such things in public, this is undermining an already moribund film culture.
After 60 years of Film Criticism history, what people write today must be at least as smart as what has been learnt and written in the past, or not written at all. 

Movie reviewers need to take themselves less seriously... 
and take Cinema more seriously.

If the journalists in your favourite newspaper, your favourite reviewer, your film teacher, a book written by a film scholar start to sound like the above bullshit without an hint of sarcasm, shame or remorse... then run away, run as far as you can! And learn to think by yourself, teach yourself to detect self-serving egos talking out of their asses for the sole purpose to occupy the public conversation even though they have nothing to say.

N.B. see links for the context of these quotes! 

27 janvier 2012

Theatrical Ad (ironic)

Movies shan't ruin your personal fun again ! Because the customer is always right. (sarcasm intended)

Related :

25 janvier 2012

American Fatalism 3 (Ebert)

"6. Lack of choice. Box-office tracking shows that the bright spot in 2011 was the performance of indie, foreign or documentary films. On many weekends, one or more of those titles captures first-place in per-screen average receipts. Yet most moviegoers outside large urban centers can't find those titles in their local gigantiplex. Instead, all the shopping center compounds seem to be showing the same few overhyped disappointments. Those films open with big ad campaigns, play a couple of weeks, and disappear."
Source: I'll tell you why movie revenue is dropping... (Roger Ebert; 28 Dec 2011)

He starts on a good note : the box office results are over-hyped (positively and negatively) to add drama to the industry and stir attention away from REAL issues. But then, his assessment of the situation turns to an individualistic distress about the audience lacking pampering treatment... as if THIS was the number 1 problem explaining the disastrous diversity awareness crisis on American screens.
He reports and supports the decades-old complaints among American audiences seeking excuse for not watching movies on the big screen : 
  1. event-spectacle : see Long Tail consumers
  2. tickets too expensive : is money the problem that the USA has and other countries in the world don't have to explain audience laziness??? The percentage of household expenditure for a theatre admission is 12 times lower than in the 40ies, which was the all-time largest cinema audience in USA history! (see:  Cinema admission pricing in the USA (1929-2002))
  3. noisy auditorium : the concept of a quiet audience is a very recent invention in cinema history. People used to talk during Silent Film projections. Even with the Talkies, theatres used to be non-stop screenings back-to-back all day long, people coming in and out at any point of the film's duration. If these disturbances didn't prevent the 40ies to be the LARGEST audience of history, then today's audience sure can handle it without recoiling at home.
  4. concession stand : as if anybody FORCED you to BUY food when you go consume cultural goods. Can't you just wait 2 hours before stuffing your face again? Do you buy popcorn at the library, at the opera, at an art exhibition too? That's proof you treat Cinema as leisure (consumer-oriented) instead of culture (artist-oriented).
So that's what stops American audiences from supporting "big screen exhibition"? Petty little selfish complaints... The resolve to access film culture isn't very strong if that's enough to make you give up. Stop crying like a baby and grapple the bull by the horns, it's up to you to stand your ground and reconquer the serenity of a public space destined to cultural education! 

Do you think that un-subtitled foreign films stopped the original cinephiles at Langlois' Cinémathèque? Wooden seats, sitting on the floor, standing up at the back... Poor sound quality, truncated silent film reels... Having to watch alternative films projected in the staircase of the Cinémathèque... Having to wait 2h for a midnight supplementary projection because the previous one was sold-out... and, OMG, no fucking concession stand!!!

If you want your country to own a film culture it deserves, you need to WORK HARD for it, to get out and FIGHT for it. Earn it. Win it back. If the French can do it, there is no reason why the American cinephiles or cinephiles from any country couldn't do it as well. The wealthy American market should be a safe haven for non-commercial artists, precisely because Hollywood already makes much more profits than any other market on Earth. France cannot afford to support foreign cinema at the expenses of French cinema, yet we do it, we pay for it. It wouldn't cost anything to the Hollywood multi-billion industry... and they don't even bother supporting World Cinema! What a shame! You've profited from world audiences for over a century now... don't you think it's time to GIVE BACK a little?

Writing about films that are invisible is a luxury you can indulge in a protected market like France, because films get distributed COMMERCIALLY there. Didn't you notice that for decades, whatever the navel-gazing choir-preaching press-niche published wasn't enough to open up Hollywood's stronghold on commercial screens? 
Writting is not enough if your local commercial market actively SUPPRESSES indie screenings, foreign blockbusters, critically-acclaimed foreign cinema, because the studios are scared shitless about losing 5% of their box office revenues to non-commercial films with low competitive value. This is scary indeed!!!

Nobody cares about your popcorn diet... GET THE BEST ARTISTS OF CONTEMPORARY WORLD CINEMA SCREENED IN AMERICAN THEATRES! NOW!!! And whine about your own selfish comfort in the theatre later... when cinema is no longer in danger of extinction. Get your priorities straight!


21 janvier 2012

Skimpy specialty distributors

"[..] The notion that distribution is a hard-headed enterprise is correct. But the assertion that this leads to real competition is ludicrous - it ensures market domination by US producers. For all the blathering to the effect that US audiences have no interest in foreign film, in addition to university screenings across the thousands of US colleges, there is a vast array of small companies striving to meet the needs of this supposedly non-existent demand.
Decisions about the number of prints are also important during the final promotional effort for exhibition. combined with the advertising budget, prints often raise marketing costs to 50% of a feature film's total value. From a marketing perspective, the investment is justified, because more prints mean more opportunities for poster displays and for the film's title to occupy available marquee space, much like a billboard announcing a new product. Release strategies, therefore, usually include considerations of an optimal volume of prints as part of a single marketing event with advertising ad other promotions. Major distributors usually opt for wide US release, with 1,000 or 2,000 prints distributed and advertised on a nationwide basis, including '100 theatres in Los Angeles and 80 theatres in New York'. Wide releases have come to 'represent about 3/4 of total box office revenue'. In contrast, speciality distributors use a method called platforming, in which they release prints in 3 to 5 key theatres in Los Angeles and New York to build awareness through the local press and then 'platform' their films to other cities. Limited releases are those that do not appear beyond 2 or 3 major cities."
Global Hollywood 2 (Toby Miller, Nitin Govil, John McMurria, Richard Maxwell, Ting Wang; 2005; BFI)


20 janvier 2012

USA quarantine year's best films

This is what some 120 American movie reviewers believe ARE the best films of 2011 (or more exactly the ones that American distributors agreed to buy last year, which is a different matter altogether). This is not a selection imposed to them by the European elite, they chose these willingly and ended up with this consensus. Even if American critics love to remind that there is hardly 15 or 30 great films made every year, that would deserve to be shown in festivals... they still want to show they can name 50 films when year's end come.

Apparently the American distributors don't agree with the movie reviewers. If these are the BEST FILMS OF THE YEAR, distributors do not think they deserve a better exposition than a couple of screens to meet/build an audience.
We're not looking at the full list of obscure, elite foreign films, indies and artfilms shown in American festivals... These are the 50 very BEST ones, amongst those deemed "commercial" enough to be released by American distributors and exhibitors. Why even the very best doesn't get a special treatment?

There are 7 or 8 blockbusters (Contagion, The Rise of the Planet of the Apes are Best of the Year material? really???) because they wanna show they are close to the taste of the masses. American criticism is popular criticism. And, of course, all these titles with a "blockbuster release" are ALL Hollywood movies! The foreign title with widest distribution is French : The Artist (no subtitles issue, and a story ABOUT Hollywood!) on 472 screens. 

Although, these populist flicks are not quite at the top of the poll. The highest one barely makes the top10 and is targeted at KIDS! Obviously the American consensus is a lot more elitist than what they declare all the time in the media. 40 out of the 50 best films received a distribution inferior to 500 screens in a country of 40000 screens and 311 million population! 30 out of 50 best films got less than 100 screens !! 17 got 10 screens or less !!! 

30 films of the TOP50 are QUARANTINED on less than 100 screens nationwide each !!!

Even in France (with 7 times less available screens), 100 screens is a weak distribution for a successful art film (see below, The Tree of Life got 350 screens, and A Separation over 250!). So the vast American market should be able to attribute MORE screens than France to comparably successful art films!

From the top10 (You haven't seen 10 films better made than the ultra-academic A Dangerous Method???) : half of the 10 BEST FILMS OF THE YEAR had less than 20 screens !!! WTF are the American exhibitors doing??? Where are the art-film friendly art houses in the USA? There might be 20 or 50 art houses throughout the entire US of A willing to screen "niche" films with low audience potential, for the sake of the art of cinema, for the sake of world culture, for the sake of THE BEST 2011 FILMS IN THE WORLD... is that all? Is this a joke?

The Tree of Life : the one "BEST FILM" elected this year by AMERICAN critics is an AMERICAN film, in ENGLISH, with HOLLYWOOD stars and only gets 237 screens (see Weak's Cutoff: No Cinephilia for detail). Considering the absence of cinephilia in the USA, this kind of score is reaching for the stars for an "art film", an "indie". Don't say the reason is that Americans watch movies at home now... or multiplexes would have shut down by now, and they still release The Rise of the Planet of the Apes on over 3600 screens nationwide! The problem is not a dramatic drop of movie-going population, or the lack of infrastructure  (there are 10 times more screens available per title released each year than in any European country). It's just that the American moviegoer does not watch art films at all. And the few art film lovers that do exist in the USA are quitters, they are the ones who stay at home, and download foreign films illegally (when they don't buy DVDs).

Uncle Boonmee who can recall his past lives, "SECOND BEST FILM OF THE YEAR", is projected in 5 lucky theatres! How many Americans can watch it on the big screen with only 5 art houses opened? Seriously?

A Separation, "FOURTH BEST FILM OF THE YEAR", which was a popular success in France (with over a million spectators so far), was shown on 3 screens... (UK's and France's populations are 5 times smaller) Come on! This film is a MAINSTREAM NARRATIVE movie with a wide audience appeal, how come is it considered more obscure in the USA than Uncle Boonmee????????????????? Wow, it was really worth it to wait 1 year since its Golden Bear at Berlinale 2011, to find the right spot on the releases calendar and get 3 measly screens at the end of the year when the year-end polls and Oscar nominations are already closed... (sarcasm intended) American distributors are fucking useless. 

Don't ever tell me again there is a cinephile niche in the USA. You have no clue what cinema at its best looks like when you see it. Making money is one thing. If 90% of the screens were monopolized by the major studios to milk the cash cow, we'd think that the USA is a profit-driven industry, that still has 10% for an art film circuit. That's not the case (see: October 2011 releases USA).
There isn't even 1% within the plethoric American movie market to show the BEST FILMS OF THE YEAR. They can't "spare" 200-500 screens (which would still be less than what a Hollywood flop gets) for each of the 10 best films of the year. So we can't even say that there is a "minority" of cinephiles within the American movie goers... they are statistically (and commercially) INEXISTANT. You're not supporting World Cinema, you're not pulling your weight in the global balance. Not even the least benevolent effort at home (and help artists make some money on the American domestic market) to show a modicum of "counterweight" to the global hegemony Hollywood imposes on the world... American cinephiles don't even feel sorry for the Hollywood hegemony crushing local markets abroad. They don't even make the effort to support the big screen out of pity, if not for their own pleasure of watching FILM ART as it was intended.

Meanwhile the American media is totally oblivious to this appalling situation, fatalistically believing that France is an exception, that it is humanly, logistically, commercially, physically impossible to do any better for art films than 5 fucking screens nationwide... Yeah right. Nobody expects the USA to do as well as France (OMG they don't have ENOUGH billion dollars to fund such a miraculous enterprise...), but at least do "good" in the American market context. I'm sorry but this chart up there is not good by any standards (commercial or philanthropic), it is a FAILURE of an hypothetical art film circuit (if there ever was one), plain and simple. 
And smart-ass movie reviewers prefer to take cheap shots at Major Film Festivals than to deal with their domestic market and get some effective work done, culturally and commercially, for a viable art film circuit. Can't they figure out by themselves that there might be some serious (possible) improvements to be done??? 

There was an attempt of audience-self-empowerment (or Twitter-empowerment) for the neglected indie American film Margaret last year. That's a start. An American-made film. And the excuse to rebel against Hollywood decisions to limit screenings, was motivated by the access for this film to the "Oscars nomination" process... Was it a coincidence? I would hope that they are capable to protest for GREATER films too, foreign films that are ranked higher on the list these very reviewers produced. If Margaret deserves an outrage, maybe Uncle Boonmee, A Separation, Mysteries of Lisbon, Poetry, Film Socialisme, Le Havre, The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceaucescu, Le Quattro volte... would deserve a more respectful distribution, right? Why nobody speaks up? Why nobody demands a decent number of screens for these masterpieces even if they don't run for the Oscars? I wonder what they believe is the responsibility of a film critic...

Related :

19 janvier 2012

USA to outlaw cultural sharing (SOPA)

What does a bill like PIPA/SOPA mean to our shareable world? At the TED offices, Clay Shirky delivers a proper manifesto -- a call to defend our freedom to create, discuss, link and share, rather than passively consume.
* * *

19 January 2012 : FBI shuts down megaupload / Anonymous retaliates / Megaupload song


La Cinéphilie originelle expliquée aux néos

Histoire de la cinéphilie 
(La Fabrique de l'Histoire; France Culture; 16 jan 2012) partie 1 - 2 - 3 - 4

1. Grand témoin Philippe Cassard
16-01-2012 [MP3] 54'
Pour débuter cette semaine, nous recevons le pianiste classique Philippe Cassard, interprète de Debussy et de Schubert, qui vient de publier chez Capricci un dialogue avec Marc Chevrie et Jean Narboni.
Ils y discutent du rapport de la musique et du cinéma: la place de la composition, le jeu entre musique et bande son, les correspondances secrètes entre un film et une oeuvre musicale éloignée...
Nous commençons cet entretien en écoutant le début de la "Soif du mal" d'Orson Welles. Philippe Cassard analyse le rapport des voix et de la musique d'Henry Mancini. Il nous explique comment il est devenu cinéphile et en quoi les films qu'il a pu voir nourrissent la préparation de ses propres enregistrements et concerts.
2. Trois fois par jour, rendez-vous au 29
Un documentaire d’Anaïs Kien, réalisé par Séverine Cassar
Avec : Bernard Eisenschitz, Michel Mourlet, Marc Augé, Albert Fert, Costa Gavras, Carole Desbarats, Serge Toubiana, Jean Narboni, Luc Moullet et Michel Ciment.
17-01-2012 [MP3] 54'
Partons de là, sur les marches de cet escalier de pierre, on y patiente, serrant ses pièces de monnaies au creux de la main, on y discute, on y trépigne, on y espère, où l’on anticipe. La salle de projection de la cinémathèque sise au 29 de la rue d’Ulm a vu passé les cinéphiles parisiens, ceux des ciné-clubs, ceux de la Sorbonne voisine, ceux des lycées du quartier latin et ceux de l’école normale supérieure.
Henri Langlois projette sa collection au gré de ses humeurs dans cette salle Jules Ferry à partir de 1955 et ouvre ainsi un lieu de vie aux jeunes gens qui y découvrent le patrimoine cinématographique mondial bien avant l’ère du cinéma à la demande. Les films sont alors des trésors qu’on accoure voir de peur de les rater définitivement au moment où la Nouvelle Vague bouleverse les codes cinématographiques. Après la génération des Rivette, Rohmer et Truffaut, ils sont nombreux a avoir formé leur œil sur les sièges en bois de cette salle mythique. Voyage dans un lieu de mémoire de la cinéphilie, dans l’antre de la salle Jules Ferry avec Carole Desbarats, responsable de la diffusion des savoirs à l’école normale supérieure et l’équipe de la Cinémathèque de Serge Toubiana, venue repérer les lieux.
Henri Langlois parle de la profonde solitude des cinémathèques :
" Les cinémathèques n'ont pas seulement à lutter contre le temps qui, chaque jour, rend plus difficile la recherche et la sauvegarde de cinquante ans de cinéma, contre les ravageurs pilleurs d'épave, contre la méfiance d'une industrie qui craint, à juste titre, la dépossession de ses droits, contre les intérêts de cette machine qui veut que le cinéma ne produise qu'en se dévorant lui-même. (...) L'heure est grave, jamais le danger de destruction des films n'a été plus grand. Aidez-nous. Apportez-nous la force, l'appui de l'indignation publique. Comprenez qu'on n'a pas le droit d'abandonner aux usines de produits chimiques l'art le plus significatif, le plus essentiel, le plus constructif de notre temps. Joignez-vous à nous pour arrêter ce crime contre la civilisation qu'est la destruction des négatifs des anciens films."
Texte d'Henri Langlois, pour le 20 ème anniversaire de la Cinémathèque
3. Emission d'archives : Festival du film maudit, Biarritz 1949
Avec : Frédéric Gimello-Mesplomb, maître de conférences à l’Université de Lorraine. Objectif 49 et le « Festival du Film Maudit » de Biarritz, Cinéphilie savante et production des normes culturelles du cinéma aux sources de la politique de soutien de l’Etat, à paraître en 2012.
18-01-2012 [MP3] 54' 
Pour ce troisième volet de notre série sur la cinéphilie, nous nous arrêtons sur un moment particulier, celui du festival du film maudit qui s'est tenu à Biarritz pendant l'été 1949.
Après-guerre, des centaines de ciné-clubs renaissent dans une France qui fréquente en masse les salles ( jusqu'à plus de 423 millions de spectateurs en 1947). certains sont liés au Parti Communiste, d'autres aux milieux catholiques ou protestants.
En 1948, des critiques comme André Bazin ou des cinéastes comme Robert Bresson s'associent pour créer un nouveau ciné-club, Objectif 49, dont le but affiché est de défendre un cinéma contemporain ignoré ou mal distribué.
A la sortie des projections, les cinéphiles se regroupent pour des discussions enflammées au café le Madrigal, sur les Champs-Elysées.
C'est là que naît l'idée d'un festival. Les membres d'Objectif 49 se réunissent pour le préparer à la "revue du cinéma" hébergée chez Gallimard, rue Sébastien Bottin.
Le trio affiché par l'organisation est composé de Roger Leenhardt, Robert Bresson, Jean Cocteau. On trouve également autour d'eux Jacques Doniol-Valcroze ainsi que Claude Mauriac.
Le Festival obtiendra un soutien de la municipalité de Biarritz, malgré des réticences du conseil municipal sur le genre de films proposés.
Il accueillera à la fois des cinéphiles, des germanopratins et des mondains, en limitant le nombre de critiques.
Le Festival de Biarritz couronnera aussi pour la première fois Jean Rouch, qui n'est pas encore cinéaste, et deviendra un moment mythique réinventé par les tenants de la Nouvelle Vague.
4. Débat historiographique : Le rapport aux images dans l’entre deux-guerres
Avec : Dimitri Vezyroglou, maître de conférences en histoire du cinéma à l'université Paris 1; Christophe Gauthier, conservateur de la Cinémathèque de Toulouse; Renaud Chaplain, chargé d'enseignement à l’Université catholique de Lyon; Martin Barnier, professeur des universités en Études cinématographiques à l’Université Lumière Lyon 2
19-01-2012 [MP3] 54' 

Voir aussi :

17 janvier 2012

Cinema admission pricing in USA (1929-2002)

Source: Uniform prices for differentiated goods: The case of the movie-theater industry (Barak Y. Orbach, Liran Einav; 2007; International Review of Law and Economics [PDF]

UNIFORM PRICES FOR DIFFERENTIATED GOODS: THE CASE OF THE MOVIE-THEATER INDUSTRY (Liran Einav, Barak Y. Orbach; Discussion Paper No. 337; 10/2001; Harvard) [PDF]

The Exhibition side gets the largest share (45%) of the ticket money, but they only bank locally, on however many spectators come to their cinema house ($3.4 multiplied by the auditorium capacity, multiplied by the number of shows per day, multiplied by the days it will be running) and they have many expenses/bills (real estate, upkeep, services, clerks, heating/air-conditioning, electricity...). Though they do make at least as much profit from concession stands and commercial space.
Meanwhile the Production side (in red) is split between various departments, but they bank globally on ALL spectators EVERYWHERE the movie has been screened. 
Also, the advertising gets the largest share (21%) but they have a huge investment to pay back, just like the Set production (in today's practices, the advertising budget for blockbuster movies goes between a third and a half of the total movie budget). And they have to split the benefits between a large team of employees. The Distribution's share is smaller (only 11%) but the cost of printing (or DCP Digital Cienma Package nowadays) and shipping is smaller (they also RENT the rights to project a film to exhibitors). 
The actors get only 6% but their investment is null and they bank it ALL for themselves.


12 janvier 2012

For Your Consideration (Dujardin)

Quel que soit le rôle qu’il endosse, lorsqu’il est connu du public et qu’il arrive sur l’écran, un acteur est traversé par les personnages qu’il a incarnés auparavant. Cela diffuse discrètement, et puis, si l’interprétation est forte, disparaît au profit du nouveau personnage pour parfois faire retour au détour d’un geste, d’une inflexion de voix. Que reste-t-il de Brice dans OSS et du rôle de benêt dans un personnage qui ne l’est pas, par exemple celui que Dujardin incarne dans Les Petits Mouchoirs ? Cette élégance très américaine dans le port du corps, le lancer de jambe dans la démarche qui nous évoque celui de Gary Cooper, les polos de Cary Grant, les mimiques burlesques de Brice… mais, plus profondément, qu’est-ce qu’un acteur apporte de lui qui travaille la matière même du film ?

Conférence de Carole Desbarats, directrice de la communication et de la diffusion des savoirs à l’École normale supérieure (ENS)


Crise de l'image-action (Thoret)

présenté par Jean-Baptiste Thoret. Spécialiste du Nouvel Hollywood et du cinéma de genre, Jean-Baptiste Thoret est critique à Charlie Hebdo et chroniqueur à France Culture.
Gilles Deleuze clôt “L’Image-Mouvement” par un chapitre, “La crise de l’image-action”, dans lequel, à partir des films d’Hitchcock (Fenêtre sur cour), il identifie la fin de cette grande forme propre au cinéma hollywoodien, qui se manifeste d’abord par la perte du “lien sensorimoteur”. Quelles furent les conséquences esthétiques et formelles de cette crise ? Aujourd’hui, après la redécouverte du cinéma américain des années 70, ce concept est-il toujours valide ?

Related :

11 janvier 2012

Small-nations cinema (Hjort)

- Cultural Diversity Awareness - 

"In sum, for me, the emphasis on small nationhood is about:
  • understanding the challenges that small-nation filmmakers face
  • highlighting the extent to which a large number of these challenges are shared challenges
  • encouraging filmmakers to look for the opportunities that may be implicit in the constraints they encounter
  • encouraging small-nation filmmakers to look to each other for support, rather than to large nations
  • encouraging solidarity across borders and through various lasting partnerships
  • facilitating knowledge transfer across borders and especially the transfer of models that provide solutions to shared problems
  • looking to small cinemas for approaches that warrant adoption even in the context of large cinemas, and this on social, political, and ethical (including environmental) grounds.

[..] The more capacious conception of the film scholar’s role, tasks, and contributions which is afforded by an engagement with small cinemas, is, I think, ultimately quite helpful. This is especially the case for those of us who work in university systems where the value of fields of study cannot be taken for granted but must be argued for, and defended, in terms of knowledge transfer, relevance to society, and so on. It can be hard to make the case for thematic commentaries on films. It is much easier to make the case for analyses of small-nation cinemas which aim to show that there are environmental gains (among many other things) to be won from a wider dissemination and adoption of small-nation practices."
Small Cinemas: How They Thrive and Why They Matter, 2010 (Mette Hjort; Mediascape; Winter 2011) [PDF]

  • The Cinema of Small Nations (co-edited by  Mette Hjort & Duncan Petrie; 2007)
  • Small Nation, Global Cinema (Mette Hjort; 2005)
  • Cinema at the Periphery, #4 (edited by Dina Iordanova, David Martin-Jones, Belén Vidal; 2010)
  • conference “European Landscapes: Small Cinemas at the Time of Transition”, organized by Janina Falkowska; University of Western Ontario; June 2010
  • World Cinemas, Transnational Perspectives (Eds. Natasa Durovicova, Kathleen Newman; 2010)


09 janvier 2012

20 ans de Trafic

Trafic, 20 ans 20 films
Centre Georges Pompidou, 11-30 Jan 2012 [catalogue PDF]
  • 11 Janvier 2012 : Saltimbank, 2002, Jean-Claude Biette + "Sierra de Teruel, 1939" de Victor Erice  [intro video]
    En présence de Víctor Erice (sous réserve), Raymond Bellour, Jean-Christophe Bouvet, Pierre Léon, Paul Otchakovsky-Laurens, Sylvie Pierre et Patrice Rollet
  • 12 Janvier 2012 : A.I. Intelligence artificielle, 2001, Steven Spielberg
    présenté par Jonathan Rosenbaum  [intro video
  • 13 Janvier 2012 : Le Bassin de J.W., 1997, João César Monteiro
    présenté par Marcos Uzal  [intro video
  • 14 Janvier 2012 : Serge Daney présente "Trafic" au Jeu de Paume, Captation de conférence, 5 mai 1992 (vidéo 29'35")
    présentée par Raymond Bellour, Sylvie Pierre et Patrice Rollet 
  • 14 Janvier 2012 : La Belle journée, 2010, Ginette lavigne
    présenté par Jean-Louis Comolli  [intro video
  • 14 Janvier 2012 : Café Lumière, 2003, Hou Hsiao-hsien
    présenté par Frédéric Sabouraud  [intro video
  • 15 Janvier 2012 : Craneway event, 2009, Tacita Dean
    présenté par Hervé Gauville  [intro video
  • 15 Janvier 2012 : Crash, 1996, David Cronenberg
    présenté par Mark Rappaport  [intro video
  • 16 Janvier 2012 : Encontros, 2006, Pierre-Marie Goulet
    présenté par Bernard Eisenschitz  [intro video
  • 19 Janvier 2012 : Film socialisme, 2010, Jean-Luc Godard
    présenté par Jean Narboni  [intro video
  • 20 Janvier 2012 : L'Homme sans passé, 2002, Aki Kaurismäki
    présenté par Leslie Kaplan  [intro video
  • 21 Janvier 2012 : Inland, 2008, Tariq Teguia
    présenté par Jacques Rancière   [intro video
  • 21 Janvier 2012 : Loin, 2001, André Téchiné
    présenté par Jacques Bontemps  [intro video
  • 22 Janvier 2012 : Mystères de Lisbonne, 2010, Raoul Ruiz
    présenté par Jean Louis Schefer  [intro video
  • 22 Janvier 2012 : Palombella rossa, 1989, Nanni Moretti
    présenté par Fabrice Revault  [intro video
  • 23 Janvier 2012 : Le Rêve de Cassandre, 2007, Woody Allen
    présenté par Marie Anne Guerin  [intro video
  • 26 Janvier 2012 : Saraband, 2003, Ingmar Bergman
    présenté par Raymond Bellour [intro video
  • 28 Janvier 2012 : Soy Cuba, 1964, Mikhail Kalatozov + Soy Cuba, le mammouth sibérien, 2005, Vicente Ferraz [intro video]
    présenté par Sylvie Pierre
  • 28 Janvier 2012 : 36 vues du pic Saint-Loup, 2008, Jacques Rivette
    présenté par Pierre Léon
  • 29 Janvier 2012 : Val Abraham, 1993, Manoel de Oliveira
    présenté par Youssef Ishaghpour  [intro video
  • 29 Janvier 2012 : Wolff von Amerongen a-t-il commis une faillite frauduleuse ?, 2004, Gerhard Benedikt Friedl [intro video]  + Knittelfeld
    présentés par Christa Blümlinger
  • 30 Janvier 2012 : Zefiro Torna or Scenes of the Life of George Maciunas, 1992, Jonas Mekas
    présentés par Patrice Rollet

Serge Daney présente "Trafic" au Jeu de Paume 5 mai 1992 (pour la conférence, partielle)
et 14 jan 2012 (pour l'intro) (centrepompidou) 29'36"
L’idée de Trafic est venue de la prise de conscience que le paysage intellectuel dans lequel se trouvait le cinéma avait beaucoup changé. Changé au point que les façons traditionnelles d’écrire sur le cinéma ne « mordaient » plus guère sur la réalité de la consommation cinéphilique littéraire classique.
Par revue, nous entendons un lieu où l’on prendrait le temps de « revoir » et où on ne confondrait pas ce temps de la réflexion avec celui, emballé et souvent artificiel, d’une « actualité » qui est davantage celle des médias que celle du cinéma lui-même. « Il n’y a pas le feu ! » pourrait être notre mot d’ordre. Il faut revenir à une temporalité plus simple, plus sûre et plus ludique.
Chacun sent bien que le cinéma est pris depuis longtemps dans une évolution en forme de virage interminable. Cette histoire du « cinéma moderne » dont beaucoup d’entre nous ont subi le choc est néanmoins derrière nous et il nous appartient au moins de décrire ce qui vient, fût-ce l’effacement relatif du cinéma.
Serge Daney : "Trafic, revue de cinéma."; hiver 1991 [PDF]

Ecouter aussi :
  • Trafic anniversaire (France Culture; 9-01-2012) webcast [MP3] 30'
    Marie Richeux, Raymond Bellour, Judith Revault d’Allonnes

Lire aussi : 

08 janvier 2012

La trilogie Jason Bourne (Burdeau)

The Bourne Trilogy est en français la trilogie Dans la peau : "La Mémoire dans la peau" (Doug Liman, 2002), "La Mort dans la peau" (Paul Greengrass, 2004) et "La Vengeance dans la peau" (Paul Greengrass, 2007). Et le thème de cette intervention : comment la surveillance et les machines de l’espionnage s’effacent et s’aiguisent en s’incorporant.

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