06 octobre 2009

Pariscope 2009

Rosenbaum : "As a French friend recently pointed out to me, American audiences have a tendency to regard most films as pieces of property or business ventures, an attitude reflected and encouraged by critics who refer to films at “hits” and “flops”. Perhaps this is one reason why American viewers tend to be more restless and inattentive at films than the French; having purchased a “piece of the action,” they may feel a certain anxiety about how their investment turns out. Another explanation may be two decades of television-conditioning, which seems to teach many Americans that a screen is something to be glanced at, not watched, and a soundtrack overheard as much as listened to. In France, television is still commonly regarded as a precious novelty, and one rarely sees a Frenchman watching the tube with anything less than total absorption."
Upon reading Jonathan Rosenbaum's article : "Paris Journal, Spring 1972 (Paris moviegoing, MODERN TIMES)" [Film Comment, Spring 1972; slightly tweaked, September 2009] (18 Sept 2009), I thought it would be fun to take the same survey and compare the situation today. Maybe a New Yorker will be inclined to do the same for NYC today too...

Pariscope used to be my weekly bible too, indeed. That or its twin : L'Officiel des Spectacles. But that's how we see things have changed... today I rely instead on a free online service (AlloCiné), which is a pretty good database of all French releases, week by week, screen by screen. It cost 3F in 1992 when I arrived in Paris, and it costs 0;40€ today, so the price is stable. But I bet the sales have been eaten up by the web offering of the same infos, more instantaneous. Séances was a great signpost for all obscure screenings in the capital (unfortunately discontinued in 2008). Certainly better than Cahiers's incomplete calendar, once a month, prepared too early, and not updated in real time. They never understood (to this day!) the Cahiers website had to play a day-to-day role to connect with their "monthly" readers...

So according to Pariscope #2158 (week of 30 Sept - 6 Oct 2009) 37 years later :
  • 78 commercial cinémas (Paris "intramuros" city-centre)
  • 85 commercial cinémas (Paris suburbs)
  • 3 institutions (La Cinémathèque, Centre Pompidou, Forum des Images)
    • La Cinémathèque = 35 films (3 screens)
    • Centre Pompidou = 11 films (3 screens)
    • Forum des Images = 35 films (3 screens)
  • not counting the screenings at the various museums and foreign cultural centres (Jeu de Paume, Goethe Institute, Musée Guimet, Auditorium du Louvre, Institut du Monde Arabe, Fondation Cartier, Maison du Japon, Institut Finlandais, Maison de la Russie, Institut Hongrois, Centre Wallonie-Bruxelles, Centre Culturel Irlandais, Centre Tchèque, Institut Néérlandais, Maison du Danemark, Institut Coréen...)
Stats CNC 2008 (PDF) in Paris intramuros : 85 cinémas (41 arthouses); 363 screens ; 70509 seats
26,720,000 admissions sold in Paris in 2008 = 12.57 admissions per inhabitant per year (on average).
Stats CNC 2005 "art & essai" / arthouse (PDF) in Paris megalopole (+suburbs) : 138 arthouses (=49.3 % of total arthouses France); 283 arthouse screens (=30.5% of total arthouse screens in France); 52439 arthouse seats (=26.9% of total arthouses seats France); 184 parisian inhabitants per arthouse seat; 49 parisian inhabitants per seat (all cinemas).

Total unique film titles projected on Parisian public screens : 437 =
  • 13 new releases this week (5 USA, 4 France, 1 Korea, 1 Australia, 1 Mexico, 1 Morocco)
  • 221 current run titles (196 on commercial circuit + 24 in institutions)
  • 202 revival titles (146 on commercial circuit + 56 in institutions)
Broken down by country of origin (current + revival) :
  • 101 : USA (23%)
  • 76 : France (18%)
  • 24 : Italy (5.5%)
  • 22 : Japan (5%)
  • 21 : UK (4.8%)
  • 20 : China (4.6%)
  • 19 : Germany (4.5%)
  • 6 (each) : Spain, Israel
  • 5 : Korea, Czech Rep.
  • 4 : Russia, Canada
  • 3 : Taiwan, Sweden
  • 2 : Portugal, Australia, Denmark
  • 1 : Brazil, Hungary, Algeria, Austria, Finland, Morocco, Serbia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Cameroon, Iran, Argentina, Peru, Cuba, Greece, New Zealand, Switzerland, Senegal, Poland, Mexico
Which is :
  • 18% : France = 78 films
  • 82% : Foreign films (all non-French) = 359 films
  • 37.8% : EU = 165 films
  • 62.2% : Foreign films (all non-EU) = 272 films
This week there is a Chinese cinema retrospective; a contemporary German cinema week; a complete retrospective of Guy Maddin, Kitano, Christophe Honoré, Alain Guiraudie, Park Chan-wook, Milos Forman, Robert Aldrich; other partial homages to Billy Wilder, James Stewart, Cary Grant, Bette Davis, Sean Connery, Rivette, Tarantino, Tarkovsky, Weerasethakul; a retrospective on La Nouvelle Vague...

Nowadays, there is no more unsubtitled prints in Paris, or at La Cinémathèque (maybe rare exceptions). If the original version is not subtitled in French, at least there is English subtitles provided (in exceptional cases for rare prints). Commercial multiplexes (outside Paris) usually run a dubbed version for American films, but in Paris there is at least 1 original version available for each title. Which is more like at least 50-50% ratio of Subs/French dub. I mean it's rare when a film only screens in its French translation.

11 commentaires:

HarryTuttle a dit…

EDIT: Link to Rosenbaum's piece corrected. Sorry.

HarryTuttle a dit…

For Information :
Titles of releases this week [Number of total screen France]:

Le Petit Nicolas (2009/Laurent Tirard/France) 567 screens
The Informant! (2009/Steven Soderbergh/USA) 246 screens
Mary and Max (2009/De Adam Elliot/Australia) 149 screens
(500) Days of Summer (2009/De Marc Webb/USA) 137 screens
Je suis heureux que ma mère soit vivante (2009/Claude & Nathan Miller/ France) 102 screens
Pandorum (2008/Christian Alvart/USA) 82 screens
Thirst / Bak-Jwi (2009/Park Chan-wook/Korea) 75 screens
Ultimatum (2008/Alain Tasma/France/Israel) 48 screens
The Cove (2009/Louie Psihoyos/USA) 38 screens
La Vida Loca (2009/Christian Poveda/Mexico) 32 screens
Au voleur (2009/Sarah Leonor/France) 26 screens
Imagine That (2008/Karey Kirkpatrick/USA) 7 screens
Nos lieux interdits (2008/De Leïla Kilani/France/Morocco) 2 screens


Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired (2008/Marina Zenovich/USA) 1 screen
Pierrot le Fou (1965/Jean-Luc Godard/France) 1 screen
The Enforcer (1951/Bretaigne Windust/USA) 1 screen

nitesh a dit…

Thanks for sharing this, Paris has plenty to watch any single day. From retrospective to current releases. Amazing.

HarryTuttle a dit…

Thanks for caring Nitesh.
I didn't even count the Indian retrospective, because it's not listed by Pariscope in the "commercial circuit", since it's a museum projection. But I should add for this week 2 Malayalam films by Gavindan Aravindan :
- Estheppan (1979)
- Pukkuveyil (1981)

I hope that the reaction to this post would be : "I wish exhibitors in my neighbourhood would screen more diversity to let me choose which type of cinema I would like to watch". The point is not to compare quantities, but availability and diversity. It's thanks to countries that show foreign cinema that domestic industries everywhere can survive and prosper beyond their own locale. There is no cinephilia when domestic films block any import of foreign cinema on the domestic market.

Adrian Mendizabal a dit…

what an insightful post you have Harry! I read Rosenbaum's article and I am all red in envy. In Manila, Philippines just today, you have 97% American Mainstream Films, 2% Filipino Films, 1% Indie Non-Filipino films, 1% I don't know showin in theaters! A French cinephile could die here of starvation. I, myself, am struggling over a couple of bootlegged DVDs because frankly the independent cinema here is literally moving underground without proper education. T.T

Anonyme a dit…

Thank you Harry for the wonderful stats. No wonder France is the Cinema Capitol. If not for internet, none of us would ever get to know what cinema really is.

HarryTuttle a dit…

Thanks guys, for reminding about DVD circulation (legal or illegal). My numbers here only describe the (commercial) big screen circuit, which is the first raison d'être of cinema. It's OK to watch films on video, but I hope there won't be a time when filmmakers will have to make films for TV screens only...
And if the commercial market doesn't account for the totality of cinephile viewing (thankfully there is more than that for the sake of film culture), but it accounts for the main revenue auteurs get. If their films are not shown in theatres anywhere in the world, the commercial career of these films will most likely be pitiful...

And it's important to distinguish between what hardcore cinephiles or professional critics watch (and how) because they either get to see these films for free, or at festival, or on DVD anyway... from what the regular audience, the paying public of these films, get to see. Because that is their money, the Box Office, that defines the financial health of filmmakers and local industries, so they can make more films in the future.

I don't care for commercial B.O. otherwise. I know the average audience only cares for escapism and mainstream narrative. General statistics doesn't tell us about cinephilia, it tells us about the prosperity of the mainstream film industry in each country.
From there we can set our expectation from each market place.

Ted Fendt a dit…

Thanks for the post.

I'm currently living in Paris and enjoying the selection quite a lot. Particuarly the actor-centric series Action Ecoles and Action Christine have been having, as well as the Nouvelle Vague series at the Cinematheque.

I lived in the New York the past two years and the selection there, while still quite good, does not really compare to that of Paris.

As far as repertory and non-mainstream releases go here are the theaters I most frequented:

Musuem of Modern Art (3 screens)
Walter Reade (1 screen)
Anthology Film Archive (2 screens)
Brooklyn Academy of Music (1 screen for repertory films)
IFC (3 screens)
Film Forum (3 screens)
Musuem of the Moving Image (1 screen prior to current renovation project)
Alliance Francaise (1 screen, I believe)

I think I'm leaving some things out, but those are the ones I went to regualarly and was able to see quite a range of films from Hawks to Ford and Frampton to Godard (though I don't propose those as two polarities).

HarryTuttle a dit…

Hi Ted,
did I send you cinemas addresses this summer?

I wish that every country would have at least one city with a Paris-like diversity of projection in public screens/commercial circuit. Like New York, London, Toronto, Berlin, Bruxelles, Rotterdam... Is it impossible?
Is it more important to show Harry Potter or Spiderman on 2 screens in each multiplex or to show a wide spectrum of cinema to movie-goers?

Ted Fendt a dit…

You did send me cinema addresses this summer. Your suggestions have been very helpful. Maybe we'll run into each other one of these days at the cinematheque.


HarryTuttle a dit…

"Cinema and Los Angeles" By M. S. Smith (Filmwell, 10-25-2009)