Feminist activists led fierce criticism of the organisers of France's top cinema awards, the Césars, after director Roman Polanski's latest film An Officer and a Spy was nominated this year for 12 awards, including best director, which one group said amounted to acclaiming 'a child abuser and rapist on the run' in a reference to Polanski's fugitive status in the US from where he fled in 1978 after admitting the statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl.
The French cinema industry has some of the world’s highest-paid stars and largest film budgets, but is losing money hand over fist. The paradox is explained by a system of public subsidies paid to make films whatever their box office appeal. Even for those which prove a popular success, the enormous production costs are hardly ever recovered. The subsidies paid to the French film industry are part of a complex system that its supporters say has allowed it, over many decades, to maintain a rich production while other national cinema industries in Europe have faded. Its critics argue it is a perverse and outdated economic model. In this interview with Joseph Confavreux, the sociologist Olivier Alexandre, a specialist in the history of modern French cinema, analyses how the system works and weighs up the arguments for and against.
Nico Papatakis, film producer, director and scenarist and many other things besides, has died in Paris at the age of 92. The cast in his life story reads like a surrealist blockbuster, from Emperor Haile Selassi to John Cassavetes, from Anouk Aimé to Jean Genet, and from Jeanne Moreau to the other Nico (she of the Velvet Underground). We pay tribute to an extraordinary artist, adventurer, reveller and revolutionary.