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Qu’est-ce que le Cinéma?

May 17, 2015

The 68th annual edition of  the world’s most prestigious film festival kicked off this past Wednesday.

But beyond the annual celebration of film as art lies a huge, thriving film marketplace. This is a Cannes few aficionados outside the biz actually know about. Up and down the Boulevard de Croisette, bathed in the crystalline white light of the French Riviera, movers and shakers hustle about, bidding for the right to exhibit movies in territories worldwide.

Those movies, some fresh from festival competition, award winners, touting authorship by some of the world’s most acclaimed directors, feature the brightest stars in the film world’s firmament.

But there are bins full of other titles, titles which invariably elicit the blankest of stares even from those in the know, as well as those who don’t know; a bizarre bazaar of product, specialty items, to fill screens wherever there’s a paying audience clamoring for product, oh-so many links on the worldwide cinematic sausage chain.

This year the film world is experiencing precipitous change, the increasing influence of TV and technology. Some have even proclaimed that TV has creatively dethroned the movies. It’s the talk of Cannes.

There is a fast emerging alternative to the traditional means by which TV and theatrical films are financed, distributed, and delivered. Hungry upstarts are demanding their seat at the table, sustained by subscribers, their shopping carts ready to be filled with the latest digital devices.

Streamers Netflix and Amazon are cutting lucrative deals that appeal to financiers looking to cover their downsides even as they make money on their investments quicker than ever before.

*   *   *

Slightly east of Marseilles, approximately 177 kilometers up the road from Cannes lies La Ciotat. The same La Ciotat whose train station was featured in the early Lumiere Brothers’ film L’arrivée d’un train en gare de La Ciotat.

There’s a small movie theater in La Ciotat, the Eden.

The Eden has been showing movies since 1895. It is the world’s oldest cinema still in operation.

The building was nearly demolished, but a committee, led by citizen Jean Louis Tixier, raised funds to save it in 2013.

Eden Theatre


Cinema should not be watched at home on a TV screen. Cinema is about people breathing and having emotions together. Cinema is a collective, human experience. (Jean Louis Tixier)




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One Comment
  1. kathy friedrichs permalink

    Thoughtful, as usual. Thanks!


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