“The time has come to provide legislative responses to women in cinema”

“The time has come to provide legislative responses to women in cinema”


On February 14, the Senate will examine a bill intended to “consolidate the
cinematographic sector”. This was particularly hard hit during the Covid-19 pandemic when its financing is essentially based on cinema admissions. But several months after their reopening and the return to normal of spectator attendance in cinemas, is the priority solely on the reform of subscription cards and the rebalancing of relations between distributors and cinema operators?

This transpartisan and consensual text essentially takes up the recommendations of the report by Bruno Lasserre, former president of the Competition Authority, published on April 3, 2023.
add provisions aimed at including environmental protection in the missions of the National Cinema Center (CNC) and at making the payment of production aid conditional on respect for copyright.

But the proposed law eludes other professional relationships in the sector which also deserve “regulation”: the relationships which link producers, directors and actors. Since 2018 and the #metoo movement, awareness has emerged about the dark nature of the relationships formed by this professional triangle in French and international cinema, the movement having emerged following the accusations made against American producer Harvey Weinstein.

In France, the rise of exclusively female marches during the 71st Cannes Film Festival in 2018 highlighted the structural inequalities between men and women in the industry. In 2019, a parity bonus increased the support fund granted to productions, when they respect the balance between women and men in their recruitment.

Confusion of responsibilities

#metoo has also paved the way for broader reflection on the role of male dominance behind the camera and in perpetuating stereotypes, if not gender domination on screen. And on the need for public authorities to promote other perspectives, particularly female ones, to mitigate systems of domination. This is all the research work conducted by critic Iris Brey and what associations like the 50/50 Collective are asking for.

After 2018, the public authorities left the CNC alone to maneuver. This is how it was
implementation of training in the prevention of gender-based and sexual violence which takes the form of three-hour modules provided to managers of production companies but not to executive producers, actually in charge of professional relations, during filming.

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