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To reconnect with international success, French cinema needs “spectacular”, according to the president of Pathé Films

To reconnect with international success, French cinema needs "spectacular", according to the president of Pathé Films

To reconnect with international success, French cinema must be “more spectacular“, prescribes one of the most powerful leaders of the sector, the president of Pathé Films, which is preparing the next Asterix. In the meantime, it is with a much more modest film that Ardavan Safaee hopes to create a surprise at the next Oscars: Codaan American independent film, remake of The Aries Family by Eric Lartigau with Louanne.

The film, which tells the story of a deaf family in difficulty, has been flying from success to success since its presentation last year at the Sundance festival, then its release on Apple TV+. At the end of February, he won the first prize at the SAG Awards, which usually weigh heavily in the race for the Oscars, awarded on March 28.

Coda features actors who are deaf or hard of hearing, including Marlee Marlin, the first deaf actress to receive an Oscar, and is nominated in the categories “best picture”, “best adapted screenplay” and “best supporting role” for Troy Kotsur.

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A sign that French cinema and its creators still matter, especially abroad? “Films as they were designed until recently in France, this film mass of 300 per year, or even more in 2021, is not viable in the long term“, believes Ardavan Safaee.

We have to redefine the type of films we want to make for the cinema, try to move upmarket, and that requires being a little rarer, while maintaining diversity. To inspire the public, you have to make more spectacular films. We know how to do it“, he assures, citing Notre Dame is burning by Jean-Jacques Annaud, in theaters since Wednesday, but also his ongoing projects.

“Asterix and Obelix”, “The Three Musketeers”…

Among them, one of the biggest productions of the moment (more than 60 million euros), Asterix and Obelix: The Middle Empire (released in February 2023), notably with football star Zlatan Ibrahimovic alongside Guillaume Canet, Gilles Lellouche as Obélix or Marion Cotillard, but also The three Musketeersnew adaptation of the work of Alexandre Dumas with Vincent Cassel and Eva Green in the main roles, currently being shot.

Despite recent agreements on the reform of the media chronology and the financing of cinema by platforms, the leader believes that the French ecosystem is not necessarily out of the woods: “The balance is still not good. The way of consuming films has changed. If we do nothing, I’m afraid that, in ten years, we’ll think we’ve fallen below our European neighbors. For the moment, the balance is working in France but, if we let the platforms grow (…), if we don’t adapt our way of producing, and the types of films we make for theatres, we risk to fall behind“.

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