No, French cinema does not boast of a moment comparable to Marylin Monroe’s famous dress flying over a subway vent, or the international legacy left by popular, iconic movies such as Grease! But, they are the hosts of the Cannes Film Festival whose Palme d’Or is internationally renowned and they do have epic cinematic achievements such as the hilarious yet deeply touching duo formed by Driss and Philippe in Intouchables.
France loves cinema, and it has to be admitted that they have enjoyed a certain amount of success on the international scene with some of their best actors such as Marion Cotillard, Dany Boon, Vincent Cassel, Léa Seydoux and Mélanie Laurent.
There is no middle ground in French cinema – love it or hate it! (The same thing can be said more or less about the French themselves, n’est-ce pas?). Sometimes considered too “weird” by many audiences, their films often speak of their culture and country, like the recent Me, Myself and Mum (French: Les garçons et Guillaume, à table !) and touch on difficult subjects like in Blue is the Warmest Colour (French: La vie d’Adèle).
With over 200 productions each year (and a record-breaking 300+ in 2013!), French cinema offers something for everyone, from good old comedy to action to thought-provoking social commentaries. At The Home of Translation, have a few favourites such as The Intouchables, Of Gods and Men, Les demoiselles de Rochefort, The Beat that my Heart Skipped, This Man Must Die, Amélie, La Vie en Rose, The Artist and many others besides.
The plethora of French cinema owes its existence not only to a heritage and tradition dating back to the time of the French cinematographic pioneers Emile Reynaud and the Lumière brothers, but also to the French policy of today to promote and preserve its culture, known as the “exception culturelle française” (French cultural exception).
This means that French cinema is a subsidised industry where revenue from the big, commercial productions helps finance smaller, more targeted films. Just like French cinema, the “exception culturelle française” is a controversial issue with some arguing that it represents a certain cultural snobbism, that cinema is too expensive or that actors are paid too much (cf. the debate sparked last year by Vincent Maraval).
Loathed or lauded, French cinema remains a diverse art whose popularity is evident on both a national and international scale by the success of its films and actors.
Whether you are a fan or not, we hope you have a great day, just like in a film... but real!
The Home of Translation
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