“The sharp drop in admissions to auteur films also explains Justine Triet’s controversial words at the Cannes Film Festival”

TEverybody is delighted with the return of the public to cinemas since the beginning of the year, with the symbol of young people attracted by American blockbusters. But without seeing that a large part of auteur films still lost 30% to 50% of viewers compared to 2019.

This hare, lifted by the review Full screen of May 10, is confirmed to us by Carole Scotta and Eric Lagesse, co-presidents of DIRE, the union of independent distributors. In other words, theaters and cinema are doing better, a number of films worse.

The National Film and Moving Image Center (CNC) and the Comscore Institute note that, in each category of film, the gap between winners and losers is widening. For art and essay, the surprise I will always see your faces, by Jeanne Herry (over a million admissions), cache “packages of films even more ignored than before”, explains Eric Marti, of Comscore. The most fragile, demanding, creative, daring, disheveled works – to each his own qualifier –, with a little-known filmmaker and without stars can stagnate under 5,000 admissions.

Read also: What is the “French cultural exception” in cinema and is it really in danger?

A flashback, to understand. Between 1995 and 2010, the number of French films produced each year doubled, and then stabilized: 200, if we consider only those approved by the CNC, 300 if we add those that are not. But as the public has not really increased, a good quarter of titles total less than 10,000 admissions and nearly 40% less than 20,000. At the other end, several auteur films once reached one million tickets, whereas in 2022 there was only one, In bodyby Cédric Klapisch.

According to DIRE, the Covid-19 would have sealed off a research cinema, which was already not in good shape. The malaise is undoubtedly linked to the profile of the public. It is not the CNC, however keen on statistics, but the Ministry of Culture which, in its studies, has identified the film lover artsy : senior, cultured, urban, wealthy, fond of other arts. A public ” dream “, but which has flaws: it puts the plethoric cultural offer in competition, adding streaming platforms; he is far from the people of the excluded, whom the elected officials of all persuasions want to lead to culture; he is not replaced by younger ones.

A delicious formula, close to understatement, has thus become recurrent: “This film has not met its audience. » As if the latter were abstract, even unthought. “The sector acted as if the spectators were not part of its field”confirms film economist Laurent Creton (University of Paris-III).

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