French cinema applauded by foreign audiences

3rd February 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Feb 2, 2006 (AFP) - French cinema is patting itself on the back for scooping three Oscar nominations after a record-breaking year when more people went to see French movies abroad than within France itself.

PARIS, Feb 2, 2006 (AFP) - French cinema is patting itself on the back for scooping three Oscar nominations after a record-breaking year when more people went to see French movies abroad than within France itself.

'Joyeux Noel' (Merry Christmas) which tells the story of a World War I impromptu football match between enemy troops on Christmas Day 1914 picked up a nod for best foreign language film in the 78th-annual Academy Awards.

And 'March of the Penguins', Luc Jacquet's hit film about the lives of Emperor penguins joined 'Darwin's Nightmare' recording the effect of Nile perch fishing in Lake Victoria, Tanzania, with nominations in the best documentary category.

These films "illustrate the diversity of our cinema and show once more that diversity rhymes with success," said French Culture Minister Renaud Donnedieu in a statement.

The three nominations "are new proof of the vitality of French cinema and the spread of its talents abroad," he added.

In 2005 for the first time ever, foreign audiences for a French film outnumbered audiences for French films within France, according to Unifrance, which promotes French cinema abroad.

Foreign audiences were up 50 percent to some 73.6 million, with box office sales of some EUR 369 million, compared to 2004 with 49.2 million entrances and some EUR 239.6 million in receipts.

This compares to the 64.8 million entrances for French films in France in 2005, a drop of 14.1 percent compared with 2004, according to the National Cinematography Centre.

Much of this success abroad belongs to the surprise blockbuster 'March of the Penguins' which became the best-selling French film ever in the United States dethroning Luc Besson's English-language 'The Fifth Element'.

Since its launch abroad, the penguins have taken some US $77 million at foreign box offices attracting some 16 million spectators, most of them in the United States where it took some EUR 58 million at the box office.

In France however the tale of the penguins' struggle against the elements drew only 1.2 million people.

Another 15 films drew more than 500,000 spectators each outside of France, including 'Joyeux Noel' directed by Christian Carion which has yet to premier in the United States.

Europe remains the biggest market for French films accounting for 50 percent of all foreign audiences, while the United States makes up one third. In Asia however, interest in French films appears to be falling.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

0 Comments To This Article