In Marseille, Marcel Pagnol embarked on a political controversy

The Château de la Buzine, bought in 1941 by the writer Marcel Pagnol, in the 11th arrondissement of Marseille, June 17, 2011.

Does Printemps Marseille want the skin of Marcel Pagnol? The accusation, like a spark in the Provençal scrubland, ignited social networks and political debate on Thursday June 15. At the origin of the fire, the revelation by Le Figaro of a deliberation which must be voted on at the municipal council of June 30, 2023 by the left-wing coalition which leads Marseille. The text confirms the change of manager of the Château de la Buzine, a municipal cultural center based in the 11e arrondissement, on a site that belonged to Marcel Pagnol, until it was sold to the city in 1971.

After a call for tenders and the passage before a selection committee, the association of the Château de la Buzine, chaired since 2017 by Nicolas Pagnol, grandson of the writer, is dismissed. The new public service delegate will be the center of working culture (CCO), a structure which manages a dozen social centers in Marseille, associated with La Prod du Sud, an audiovisual equipment rental company.

“The town hall fires us”

Nicolas Pagnol’s warning cry Figaro“The town hall fires us” , and his initiative to launch a petition against the decision, immediately triggered a torrent of reactions from right-wing and far-right elected officials, accusing the Marseille municipality of wanting “killing Provençal culture”. Forgetting that the last exhibitions at La Buzine were devoted… to James Bond, Steven Spielberg and Brigitte Bardot.

On her Twitter account, Senator Les Républicains Valérie Boyer talks about “Communist Purge”. His colleague in the Senate Stéphane Le Rudulier denounces “wokism (…) green and red ayatollahs”. The president of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Region, Renaud Muselier (Renaissance, ex-LR), says to himself “scandalized”while the president of the Aix-Marseille metropolis, Martine Vassal (LR), assures Nicolas Pagnol of “his support”. At a time when political tensions between majority and opposition are once again exacerbated in Marseille, the opportunity to attack Mayor Benoît Payan (DVG) is a good one.

Read also (2011): The Château de Pagnol becomes a city of cinema

The unanimity of right-wing elected officials is all the stronger since the general manager of the castle, Valérie Fedele, was one of them. Borough councilor for the majority of former mayor Jean-Claude Gaudin and close to Valérie Boyer, her appointment in 2013 as head of Buzine was read as a political privilege. At the origin of the arrival of Nicolas Pagnol, Mme Fedele was one of the experts called upon by Martine Vassal to prepare her electoral program in 2020. Under her leadership, La Buzine regained a financial balance but was criticized for an artistic program without momentum.

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