Sarkozy lauds France's cultural exception at Cannes

21st May 2007, Comments 0 comments

CANNES, France, May 20, 2007 (AFP) - As the Cannes film festival turned 60 Sunday, newly sworn-in President Nicolas Sarkozy said its continuing success was the legacy of France's unyielding defence of its cultural heritage.

CANNES, France, May 20, 2007 (AFP) - As the Cannes film festival turned 60 Sunday, newly sworn-in President Nicolas Sarkozy said its continuing success was the legacy of France's unyielding defence of its cultural heritage.

Sarkozy addressed the festival in a message to its president Gilles Jacob, which was made public by new Culture Minister Christine Albanel at a gala celebrating the anniversary of the world's paramount film festival.

The festival, he said, is "living proof that film is one big family, not merely in the usual sense by reuniting film-makers, writers, producers and technicians, but a universal family that brings women and men from across the world closer together."

*sidebar1*To make his point, Sarkozy made a series of references to award-winning motion pictures including: the Chinese film "Still Life", Francois Truffaut's coming-of-age movie "The 400 Blows" ("Les 400 Coups"); Michelangelo Antonioni's 1966 thriller "Blow Up"; Martin Scorsese's 1976 classic "Taxi Driver"; and France's Oscar-nominated war film "Days of Glory".

Sarkozy also defended France's "cultural exception" policy. Under this system, not only do homegrown films receive backing but there are restrictions on broadcasting foreign footage on television. And a percentage of all tickets sold at the box office are recycled for use to fund new movies.

"I am proud of our country which incarnates and defends cultural exception, an exception which has given vitality to contemporary creation," the president added.

"France must defend this excellent way of providing financial backing, that should never be mistaken with a mere subsidy.

"It (cultural exception) makes a virtuous circle of box office takings, the funds helping creation," Sarkozy added.

In 2006, American products accounted for 45.8 percent of the the French film market, compared with 90 percent in many other European film markets.

Sarkozy also promised that his new government would crack down on film piracy, the illegal copying and distributions of films.

"You can count on me," he said.


Copyright AFP

Subject: French news, Cannes Film Festival

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