Dear Claude MillerMessieurs les vice-presidents, Dear Ian Christie, Dear Nico SimonMonsieur le délégué général, Dear Claude-Eric PoirouxMesdames et Messieurs, Dear friends,

I would first like to welcome to Paris the 700 or so
speakers from 47 different countries, registered for the 15th session of
this annual conference of Europa cinemas: you are an image of this
what is and what tomorrow will be the Europe of Culture. That through which,
As we know, Jean Monnet would have liked to start.
I know you met last night for the screening of
films - that make the salt of this annual conference - in the halls of
“Warehouse”. Which of course, you can imagine, doesn’t leave me
And you are sponsored by two great directors, Claude Miller and Wim
Wenders, who are both passionate about innovation
and put it at the service of their art.
Over the years, Europa cinemas has proved to be a real political success
in favour of cinema.
Bringing together these cinemas that bring European film diversity to life,
it was already a great idea in the beginning. Encourage them in their
programming efforts, and the emergence of a network
passionate, dynamic and creative entrepreneurs has produced yet more
You all knew together, thanks to your love of cinema, to make
develop this idea, by expanding this network, which now includes
of 3,000 theatres, beyond the borders of the Union. Notably by opening it
to third countries - especially the countries of the South - which are in great need of
the activity of their cinemas. You also knew how to give it
new goals, such as participating in the awakening and education of
young generations, to stimulate the cinephilia and the irreplaceable joys
it provides.
The Europa Cinema network exists not only through grants and
aid from Brussels. It is a real melting pot
rich in projects, talents, exchanges. You share in
A common requirement: your commitment to European cinema.
Thanks to your passion, the share of European cinema
the European Union has made steady progress over the past 18 years
reach 30% in 2009. Thanks to your commitment, screens have been
Preserved, diversified and open programming has emerged.
Finally, I do not forget that you were able to apprehend and analyse the
major issues of recent years, of which the
issue of the digital transition and the conditions under which it
could be achieved to preserve the vitality and diversity of the rooms and
of European cinema.
Why not say so, France has learned a lot from your
debates, and the political choices I made - I’ll come back to this in a
instant - to accompany our cinemas in France to the
digital- have also fed on your reflections.
That a European Union programme be devoted to
cinema seems to me more than a cultural requirement: it is a necessity
in the “image society” in which we live.
As you know, I remain committed to this profession of room operator
cinemas that I exercised at the beginning of my professional life and without
I am spared all the difficulties of this profession - at the
times beautiful and rough. It can never be said enough that without it the cinema
would simply not exist.
I often like to recall the nostalgia of a time when the operator
I was, projectionist by necessity, confronted with the vagaries of film
which stalls, spins and begins to deflect into the cabin then
the stairs, and finally reaches the room like a giant diabolical snake... a
silent comedy scene! The digital will definitely cancel this
anxiety but will create others.
For «the here and now» of the cinematographic spectacle, for
Walter Benjamin’s expression, which makes this art of the
reproduction finally retains its «aura», the shared emotion of
show, we owe it to the cinema which is the birthplace of the
Movie theatres in Europe have been through many storms over the past
of recent years. The appearance of multiplexes, the disappearance of
many small institutions, changes in political culture
the continent have undoubtedly weighed on the fate of the
and their relationship to the public.
But we can draw some conclusions from this recent history:
the outcome of a long period of resistance, which was sometimes difficult
and cruel, envy, the deep desire of the cinematographic show have
continued or even developed, despite the
considerable multiplication of the modes of diffusion of the film on small
home screens, and today on tablets, on devices
This is a fact that confirms the idea that the cinema, for
As much as we support her, has a future ahead of her.
The numbers speak for themselves: today there are 29,000 screens
in the EU-27, including a majority of independent theatres, which
must remind us that they always play a decisive role in
film supply. There has also been a steady increase in admissions
in most of our countries. And I am particularly pleased to
in France this year we will probably record a
new record and a number of admissions that we had not reached
for more than forty years.
In spite of the revolution in practices, and in the face of the upheaval of
therefore we must resolutely preserve the cinema,
as the founding place of what cinema is, a place of social mixing,
a place of image education, a place that has not denied anything of its origins
and fairground, as the beautiful figure of Georges reminds us
Méliès, which we will celebrate next year.
Let us not forget that it is only when a film is shown in theatres that it
becomes a movie. Let’s not forget that if the cinema participates
fully to shape our culture, it is because it has the virtue of us
gather, because it is a show. Let’s not forget that the screen
will never replace the poetic and aesthetic power of
the image projected on the big screen. That’s why the cinema is a
very strong cultural policy issue.
The emergence of digital technology is certainly a new challenge
and deeply redesigns the contours of the operator and
and their reciprocal relationship.
Our country has mobilized strongly to preserve and modernize
its network of independent rooms. I do not claim to be
model, but I want to make it clear to our European partners that
is a strong political signal.
I spoke a lot about digital issues at the Forum
a few weeks ago, with the European Commissioners in
Androulla Vassiliou and Nelly Kroes.
I believe in the solidarity of the cinema networks in Europe, I believe in the
circulation of works and scriptures: for this it is important to
promote a genuine European “digital strategy” to the benefit of
the creation and circulation of works.
In France, two complementary instruments have been put in place in
to support and anticipate this technical change. I
I am convinced that cinema must not be dependent on
technical: the “digital revolution” should not be seen as a
scarecrow, but as an asset:
- the first is the law on the digital equipment of rooms, adopted at the
almost unanimously by our Parliament in September, which
principle of distributors' contribution to equipment costs and installation
management of distributor/operator relations adapted to the new
This law is based on a clear principle: the distributor
being a beneficiary of this modernization, which reduces the cost of copies, it
is fair that it contributes financially to the digital equipment of
the operator, for a limited period of time.
- the second instrument is the aid scheme which has just been introduced;
by the CNC. Its objective is to ensure that all rooms, whatever
the level of contributions they will receive from distributors, or
can be equipped.
Because the cost of this equipment (around 80,000 ) is not within the reach of
all cinemas, especially those that are unable to
sufficient contribution from distributors. This is mainly
independent rooms in medium and small towns and areas
but also itinerant circuits without which the cinema would remain
inaccessible to many of our fellow citizens, and who play a
of culture in these territories. For lack of
they would disappear. We don’t want to
that they disappear, or that a cinema with several
It is for these halls, numbering about a thousand, that a support
CNC is now being implemented as a
a new digitization aid, with a budget of €125 million, which will
to cover up to 90% of their investments.
France, which already has 1,500 equipped rooms, is
the first country in the world to plan and organize the
its room park towards digital.
Let us be clear: all this is not the expression of an economy
management. Rather, it is the expression of a political will that
recognizes the role of film in the culture of our country.
And if the French experience can serve as an encouragement to lead in
all of Europe a real plan to accompany cinemas towards
digital, I will be happy to. You are proof of this: it is a
true European network that our cinema needs to develop
and create; we will not save ourselves, but with you, in
based on a real ambition for cinema in Europe.
This policy will serve to promote European cinema, in the same way
the necessary regulation of new “on-demand” services that
they too must actively promote European films. That’s all
the objective of the decree on on-demand audiovisual media services
(SMAD) which has just entered into force in France.
The 1960s brought the new realism of Visconti and the
«New wave» by Truffaut, Chabrol, Rohmer or Godard, the visions if
personal of Bergman and Antonioni, where however with a natural
incredible films and talents seemed to transcend the limits of
nationality to be simply «European cinema». Then the
decades that followed were marked by Ken’s political struggle
Loach, by Mike Leigh, or Moretti, Werner’s formal requirement
Herzog, the subtle poetry of Manuel de Oliveira, the fertile imagination
of Almodovar . After having experienced a real golden age, after having fed
important co-productions, the cinema met the competition of the
television, this «strange skylight» which is not, you know, if
Today – while television itself is being challenged by the
nonlinear services- I think we’ve gone beyond that apparent
antagonism. I believe we have entered a phase of
reconstruction and revival of European cinema.
The production of films in Europe is experiencing a superb improvement:
abundance - nearly 1000 films produced, double Hollywood - and
quality with a new generation of directors who have nothing to
envy their elders: Fatih Akin, Danny Boyle, Christian Mungiu, Paolo
Sorrentino, to name just a few, stands alongside the
Almodovar, Frears, Kaurismaki, Haneke or Brothers Dardenne and
contribute to the remarkable creativity of European cinema.
They all make a cinema that speaks to us, that is anchored in reality or
the history of each of their countries, but also has this universal scope, which
is perhaps the cinematic translation of what Europe is.
I do not forget the cinema of third countries and the requirement that we must
support the network of theatres in the countries of the
South; I don’t forget the abundance and creativity of young cinema
Korean, like Poetry that we saw in Cannes this year.
This is the visual heritage that must be carried by the network today
Europacinémas. And I have no doubt that the redefinition of the program
MEDIA in the year 2013 will enable a new step towards
a Europe of culture and image, especially for young people
the digital age. This heritage that we received
in sharing, it is now important to transmit and value it: in
Digitization is a great tool for image education.
That is why we must also mobilize to ensure that our heritage
of European films, these absolute treasures that I mentioned above, are
also digitized, restored and magnified by the new
The plan we have put in place for movie theatres is
completed by a plan to digitize French film heritage, in order to
that the masterpieces of cinema be accessible on the new
in digitized rooms, but also on all media of the
future: digital projection, HD DVD, VOD, etc. This
digitization will concern thousands of titles of feature films
and will be undertaken with the help of the great State loan and aid
news from the CNC.
At the European level, a growing awareness in favour of digitisation
with Europeana, has been taking place for some time. I believe that it
we also need a common European strategy for valorization
The European Commission is also working on the development of the European film heritage.
It is an immense continent, of infinite wealth, it is a legacy that it
today we must pass on to the younger generations
that they discover it and appropriate it.
Tonight you will have the privilege of seeing the first images of the film that
Wim Wenders dedicated to the brilliant and late Pina Bausch, which he
digital 3 D. I would like to end by quoting this very
beautiful words, in French, by Wim, who superbly opens his film «Tokyo
He talks about Ozu’s films and, in reality, about cinema:
For me, cinema was never before, and never again since, if
close to its very essence and determination, giving a
useful image, a true image of the man of the twentieth century, which serves him not
only to recognize oneself, but especially to learn about oneself.”
How best to express the nobility and ambition of your mission, of our
mission to all of us who are working together to chart the future of cinema,
like Méliès wanted to do over a hundred years ago?
I wish you great work. I wish you the opportunity to see
excellent European films at the Warehouse, and thank you for your