Ladies and gentlemen parliamentarians,
Dear David Lisnard, Mayor of Cannes,
Dear Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO,
Dear Frédérique Bredin,
Dear Pierre Lescure, President of the Cannes Film Festival,
Dear Thierry Frémaux,
Mr Delegate General of the Fortnight, dear Paolo Moretti,
Dear Charles Tesson, General Delegate of Critical Week,
It is a great pleasure for me to be here with you in Cannes.
Here, where, for a few days, there is nothing but cinema.
Here, where, every year, the selected films make us feel the power of this art: its ability to change our looks; to change the world.
Here, where the incandescent passion of The Life of Adele ; the ardor and excess of Sailor and Lula ; The Pianist and its music stronger than barbarism; the infinite despair of Dancer in the Dark : all these works that remain in us as indelible marks.
Cannes is all that.
The magnificent selection – its quality, diversity and audacity – presented to us shows that Cannes remains, and we must be proud of it, the largest film festival in the world. Dear Pierre, dear Thierry, thank you.
I would also like to commend the work done by the City of Cannes to make this possible, and the modernization projects, including the Palace, led by David Lisnard. This is an essential condition for the Festival to maintain its status.
Cannes is also an opportunity to recall how our cultural exception is an opportunity – as you have just done, Madam President, dear Frédérique.
This chance is what this year allows the different Cannes selections to reflect all the diversity of French cinema: diversity of subjects, diversity of writings, diversity of styles, visions, imaginaries.
This opportunity is what allows France to be a nation of co-productions. This is what allows filmmakers around the world to know that they will always find an ally in our country.
This year, all selections combined, 16 foreign films received French funding.
This chance, we must protect it.
We must preserve it.
We must perpetuate it.
To establish this unique model in the world, it took conviction, voluntarism, and fighting.
To defend it requires of us as much conviction, as much voluntarism, and as much fighting.
We’ll lead them together.
That is our responsibility: to you film professionals, to me as Minister of Culture.
Our public policy in favour of cinema, as I said, was born of conviction.
The conviction, as Malraux writes, that cinema is the victory of light in the shadow of our life ».
The conviction that by supporting the renewal of ideas and works, by promoting their diffusion, it is freedom that is defended.
The freedom of the mind.
It was this conviction that guided the revision of the Blum-Byrnes agreements.
At the Liberation, in return for the abolition of the French debt to the United States, the French market opened up to American films, banned in wartime. We expect a surge of American productions, which would monopolize the screens at the expense of a still convalescent French cinema.
It was without counting on France. On its ability to react, to organize, to guarantee French creation and its vitality.
In 1948, the tax on the price of tickets to cinemas allocated to creation laid the foundations of a regime of which we are the heirs. A regime built on two pillars:
- On the one hand, all films presented to French audiences must generate a public resource.
- On the other hand, this resource should contribute to the creation of new works of French initiative.
These two pillars, André Malraux and his successors have patiently consolidated them.
The means of accessing films have diversified over the decades.
But nothing in the nature or in the terms of these services justified departures from these two principles.
Nothing justifies it today either.
This funding model for French cinema, I will be the guarantor.
He participates in the fight for freedom of spirit.
Unfortunately, this fight is not over.
This is evidenced by the convictions of Jafar Panahi, the imprisonment of Oleg Sentsov, or the house arrest of Kirill Serebrennikov.
Today, my thoughts go to these heralds of creative freedom.
If cinema defends the freedom of the mind, it also defends it against enemies more insidious than political regimes.
Against stereotypes, prejudice, laziness to think.
René Char wrote that the “ essential is constantly threatened by the insignificant ».
You, men and women of the cinema, are the soldiers of the essential against the insignificant.
I want to thank you for that.
Thank you for your passion, for your vision, for your audacity, your curiosity and your desire to share it with us.
Thank you for your works, realistic or romantic, committed or poetic... For these films crossed by the noise and fury of our world, but also by its beauty and magic.
Thank you, all of you, without whom films would not exist.
I want to thank authors, screenwriters, dialoguists, composers, directors, technicians, producers, distributors, theatre operators.
In this model we inherited, the cinema holds a special place.
A place that must be reaffirmed, especially today, in a fractured society; a society where isolation and loneliness are gaining ground.
A cinema is a place where we vibrate, where we are moved, where we forge memories.
We see images that mark us forever.
We hear replicas that resonate in us; deaf noises that wake us up all at once; soundtracks that we cannot forget and that we hasten to listen to again.
Our memories of cinema are not just the memories of films: they are also the memories of cinemas.
It is the colour of the armchairs; the head of the neighbour in front who hides the bottom of the screen; the steps that we climb or that we rush to arrive in time.
It is the hubbub before the session, then the darkness and crushing silence.
It is laughter that takes us collectively, sometimes applause.
A movie theater is all that.
It is not a closed place; it is a window on the world.
It allows us to breathe life into our hearts, into our territories.
To bring together, to federate, to bring together women and men who don’t know each other, who have nothing in common, who may even think that nothing can bring them together, but who, for 90 minutes – sometimes more, sometimes even more, especially here in Cannes, sometimes less – vibrate in unison for a story that is not theirs.
By offering shared experiences and shared emotions, movie theatres help us live together.
We need it more than ever.
Our venue network is the first in Europe.
Let us be proud of it. Let us be worthy of it.
I want us to be able to support it in its modernization and development.
I want to accompany our Art et Essai rooms, which represent more than half of them, and whose exhibitors are the “very discreet heroes” of our cultural exception. I am very sensitive to the fact that the Cannes Film Festival is establishing a special relationship with them.
This year, for the first time on this scale, nearly 600 theaters throughout France broadcast the opening night.
Jim Jarmusch’s film was watched by more than 32,000 spectators at the same time as the festival.
I congratulate all the partners in this operation, which I hope will be even broader next year. I am counting on you.
And I’m counting on you, too, in the fight for equality between women and men.
We’re not there yet. We’re not there yet.
But we are on the right track.
This year, one year after the rise of the marches by 82 women, with Agnès Varda, one year after the signing of the Charter for Parity by the Cannes Film Festival, the Directors' Fortnight and the Critics' Week, thirteen directors were selected, all competitions combined.
That is not enough, of course.
And much remains to be done.
But we are making progress.
In this fight, you will always see me go forward.
The CNC has already implemented a strong measure: the parity bonus. A quarter of the films supported since the beginning of this year have benefited from it.
The “50/50 for 2020” collective is mobilizing strongly on the subject. I want to assure them of my commitment.
A few weeks ago, I convened the Ministerial Committee on Equality and Diversity.
And at my request, the CNC will organize new Assises next September on the theme of Diversity.
Because the subject of the representation of diversity on the screen is equally important.
Still too often, our cinema shows only a part of our society. Of those who make France. Who are France.
Too often, it hides its diversity.
By failing to represent them, we give the feeling to certain territories, to certain French, to be invisible; to be abandoned.
This cannot go on.
So yes, things are moving.
Yes, there are improvements.
But, as on the subject of equality between women and men, it is not enough.
That is not satisfactory.
Things aren’t moving fast enough.
For cinema to speak to all, it must speak of all.
It is on the condition of meeting this challenge that French cinema can continue to create links and attract audiences to theatres.
To defend our model, this cultural exception that is so dear to us, a major project awaits us.
The regulation of the digital giants.
Just because they are “giants” doesn’t mean they can escape regulation.
They are now aware of that.
Better still, they are even asking for it – as evidenced by the meeting between the President of the Republic and Mark Zuckerberg, about hate content and online violence.
The Internet must be more civilized. On this subject, a consensus is emerging.
It must also be more protective of creation.
It is a question of sovereignty.
Yes, it is the characteristic of a sovereign nation to be able to retain control over its heritage of works; to be able to protect the authors and the companies that created it, and continue to enrich it.
Digital technology offers tremendous opportunities in this regard.
It is up to us to ensure that they are not misused.
I don’t want the authors to become impoverished.
I don’t want producers to be subject to that.
I don’t want a standardization of works.
To avoid all this, we must integrate digital actors into our financing model for audiovisual and film creation.
This requires a rebalancing of the rules between historical broadcasters and new entrants.
This is both an issue of equity, technological and economic neutrality, but also of simplification.
In the area of taxation, a first step was taken with the introduction of a 2% levy on the turnover of broadcasting platforms – whether they are free or paid.
But we need to go much further, and we will go further – which will help strengthen the TNC’s resources – as part of the 2020 Finance Bill.
This rebalancing of the rules, this integration of new players into our model will be the heart of the “audiovisual” bill.
I know the expectations are extremely high, especially on the calendar. We all know we have to move quickly. I confirm that the text will be examined in Parliament at the end of 2019 or, at the latest, in early 2020.
Among other things, it will enable us to transpose the directive on the service of audiovisual media.
Ambition: this is what will prevail in this law.
Ambition will prevail for investment obligations, both in film production and in audiovisual production, which will apply to all broadcasters.
And ambition will also prevail for broadcasting obligations.
As you know, the SMA directive provides that platforms offer at least 30% of European works. But that’s not all: they must also highlight these works, promote them; in short, not relegate them to the oblivion of their interfaces.
The transposition of the SMA directive must also make it possible to include in the law rules on transparency on the exploitation data of works, applying to all broadcasters, including platforms.
This transparency is the basis of a relationship of trust between all actors in the value chain.
This will never be possible if there is a black box for viewing our productions.
With the entry of new players into our ecosystem, contractual practices will develop. I shall endeavour to ensure that they are fully subject to respect for copyright and related rights.
We must continue to fight for the defence of the French conception of copyright, which favours the person of the author, and which should not be confused with the Anglo-Saxon approach of «copyright».
The adoption of the copyright directive is a huge victory for Europe, for European artists and creators; a response to all those who no longer believe in it, to its ability to protect us, to defend our cultural model. It is a fight that many of my predecessors have led, including Françoise Nyssen, whom I want to thank for her commitment and determination on this issue. We were successful in 2019 because of this relentless mobilization of all of us, for many years.
We have just transposed part of it, through the bill to create a neighbouring right, adopted a few days ago by the National Assembly. We will transpose the rest into the “audiovisual” act.
This law also opens an opportunity to strengthen the fight against piracy.
Hacking is looting; a manifest misuse of the value you create.
For too long, public action has focused on those who download illegally, but not enough on those who broadcast illegally.
They are the ones who organize piracy; they are the ones who prosper this plunder.
It is to them that we must attack, firmly.
The momentum has been launched:
- The costs of the measures ordered by the judges were borne by the actors responsible for implementing them: access providers and search engines.
- Courts are now issuing “dynamic injunctions” to more easily track “mirror sites”.
But we can, and must do more, against streaming and direct download. Against pirate sites, directly.
In particular, we must ask ourselves whether it is appropriate to carve into the legislative marble these advances of positive law in terms of blocking or dereferencing infringing sites.
Our cultural exception is also based – and I fundamentally believe this – on the special role played by the public broadcaster in creation.
You know my ambition for our public broadcasting, to make it a reference in Europe. It is and must remain a central player in the financing of cinema, fiction, documentary, animation, information and live entertainment. And for that, it will have to continue to benefit from sustainable financing, which will guarantee its full independence.
Finally, perpetuating the cultural exception is not only helping to create works.
Obviously for me, as you all know, cinema is an “art” not otherwise but by its very nature. But it is also, as André Malraux said in 1946, an industry.
So I strongly believe that, in order for this art to continue to radiate and provide creators with the means of their freedom, we must also strengthen the companies that produce or distribute the works.
It’s about enabling them to attract new sources of private funding, and better structure themselves – especially independent production.
New sources of funding.
So it is not, of course, a question of replacing public intervention – whether it is aid administered by the CNC, or tax credits that have proven their effectiveness – with a new model of support.
It is a question of complementing it, from a different angle, which is that of aid to businesses.
Because the engine of artistic creativity is also the risk taken by an entrepreneur, interested in the success of the work he has believed in – or who pays the price for its failure.
This was the subject of the report that Dominique Boutonnat has just submitted to us, to the Minister of Economy and Finance and to myself.
This report is ambitious and bold.
Already, the President of the Republic has announced the establishment of a public capital investment fund for the cultural and creative industries, endowed with 225 million euros.
A substantial fraction of this fund will be dedicated to producers and distributors of the animated image.
As a corollary, IFCIC’s ability to issue equity loans will be enhanced.
We will also implement the other recommendations of Dominique Boutonnat:
- In the wake of the PACTE law, which relaxes the operation of private equity funds, we will take very quickly, in contact with the Minister of Economy and Finance, the implementing texts that will allow the establishment, if necessary, of funds specialized in cinema;
- The TNC will organize a funders' conference every year to ensure the evaluation and monitoring of all the schemes; I myself will chair the first of this conference, which must be organized quickly;
- But also – and I absolutely want to – I want us to look as soon as possible at how to protect our “strategic assets” in film. I am thinking in the first place of the great film catalogues. All guarantees must be taken to ensure that our creations remain accessible to the public and therefore remain in the hands of actors who will ensure their continued exploitation.
Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, this is the roadmap that awaits us!
And I am certain that if we manage to achieve it, all together, French cinema will emerge strengthened.
That it will come out more diverse, and more radiant than ever.
Thank you for making it shine.
Long live the Cannes Film Festival, long live the cinema, and long live France!