“That some people take advantage of the artistic context to satisfy a sexual desire cannot be generalized to all auteur cinema”

W hat is the cultural exception? A system by which Europe agreed to derogate, in 1993, from the dogma of the free movement of goods which prevents the member countries of the Union from protecting their internal markets and helping their local production. This exception allowed France to establish a protectionist policy for French works, through distribution quotas and a redistribution policy entrusted to the National Center for Cinema and Animated Images (CNC): taxes are levied on the distribution of all films, including non-European ones, and redistributed in the form of aid to creators, producers, exhibitors and distributors. Thanks to this, there still exists an unformatted French auteur cinema, when so many countries, which have invested less in their cultural policies, have lost their cinema, and the film producer does not have all the powers, unlike in the USA. Copyright, in France, protects creation.

The director and screenwriter Justine Triet, receiving the Palme d’Or at Cannes in May 2023, rightly criticized the threats against this system: “The commodification of culture that the neoliberal government defends is breaking the exception French culture. » These remarks immediately earned him a volley of green fire.

Arthouse cinema and the cultural exception are the bane of the far right, which sees in it a questionable use of public funds and a political interventionism favoring artists of social criticism. While the fundamentalist association Promouvoir has been working for twenty years to limit the distribution of art-house films, contesting visas from the Ministry of Culture, the elected representatives of the National Rally oppose departmental and regional aid through their votes. intended for the production and distribution of works.

The films are therefore caught between liberalism and moral and identity ideology. Freedom of creation, which has had the force of law since 2016, is a bulwark that protects the right for works to be financed and distributed.

Courage of women

However, it cannot be a screen to protect deviant behavior falling under criminal law. Some men have – or are accused of having – raped, verbally or physically assaulted, beaten, manipulated, or even exchanged young women: directors, Roman Polanski, Benoît Jacquot and Jacques Doillon, but also Gérard Depardieu, actor who starred in a number of very big budget films, and Harvey Weinstein, Hollywood film producer. We know this thanks to the courage of women who dared to break the law of silence, despite the connivance that allowed these reports of predation to take place and be kept quiet.

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