At the start of 2022, journalist and feminist activist Elvire Duvelle-Charles, who runs the Clit Révolution account on Instagram (nearly 120,000 subscribers), wanted to interact more with members of her community. “I started by organizing trips to the cinema. I realized that most of them didn’t go there on a regular basis at all. I then had the idea of a film club. » She thus launched the feminist film club Tonnerre, at the Majestic cinema (Paris 11th ), presenting, one Thursday a month, a film written or directed by a woman.
Well known to movie buffs, the practice has existed almost since the appearance of the seventh art. And it has never been so fashionable. In particular thanks to actors in tune with the themes in the news feed (feminism, LGBTQIA+ issues, etc.). Among them, let us cite the drag culture film club entitled Arlequeen, also at the Majestic, the one dedicated to female perspectives launched by the media Gaze at La Gaîté lyrique, or Pop & Psy, a monthly meeting on mental health in cinema by Doctor Jean-Victor Blanc, at the Brady.
In addition to small venues, programming work going beyond previews has also become a priority for larger structures like MK2, with in particular the launch in 2020 of the MK2 Institut, a vast program of conferences and interventions in network rooms. Proof of a concept that works, in May, the giant YouTube joined forces with this network to create the YouTube film club, meetings which broadcast YouTube videos on the big screen in MK2 cinemas.
Committed, cutting-edge programming
With the slowdown in cinema attendance following confinement and the rise of streaming, the question of renewing audiences arises. Indeed, if major productions still attract as many spectators as before the Covid-19 crisis, according to a report from the CNC published in July, this is not the case for arthouse films. It was from this observation that Elvire Duvelle-Charles went to knock on the door of Dulac Cinémas, owner of several independent cinemas in Paris, including the Majestic: “The Majestic’s programming is committed, cutting-edge, with independent cinema , it matched well with the values of Clit Révolution. We took the challenge of filling an independent theater each month with a film by a female director, and we did it. »
On the operator side, the strategy is paying off. Five is the number of regular film clubs scheduled at the Brady (Paris 10th ) for the 2023-2024 season, supported by media or associations. In this small independent cinema, these special screenings accompanied by a discussion at the end of the screening are sold out. “As we are a continuation cinema, that is to say we broadcast films several weeks after their release, the film teams are no longer available to do promotion with us. This makes it complicated to schedule special sessions, explains Jason Benhaim, director of programming at the Brady. And, yet, it is extremely important for an independent cinema to revitalize its programming. It is essential for us to offer something original and to succeed in differentiating ourselves. That’s what film clubs are for. Generally, the audience is younger than average, hypermotivated, there to chat. »
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