Advertisement

Hidden in Plain Sight: UK Promotion, Exhibition and Reception of Contemporary French Film Narrative

Chapter

Abstract

Heavily dominated by Hollywood imports, Britain has long been considered a difficult market for foreign-language films. Despite representing more than 35 per cent of the films released in Britain between 2002 and 2009, subtitled films only gathered 3 per cent of the box-office takings.1 The limited appeal of foreign-language films has often been attributed to ‘the almost pathological British fear of subtitles’, yet the availability of films, determined by their distribution pattern, and their discursive surround equally shape their box-office limitations.2 In 2001, the success of a few subtitled films at the British box office led both film critics and industry members alike to announce the dawn of a new era, a drastic change in the way British audiences would watch subtitled films. Critic Ian Johns claimed that films such as Amélie/Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain (2001) and Brotherhood of the Wolf/Le Pacte des loups (2001) heralded a new trend in French cinema. Arguing that such ‘genre-blending films’ were causing British audiences to reassess their expectations.3 Philippe Rostain, head of international sales for the French film company Gaumont SA, similarly claimed in 2001 that French cinema had finally ‘freed itself from its arthouse ghetto’, while French critic Elizabeth Lequeret claimed that a new era of French genre film was about to revolutionise French cinema’s image.4

Keywords

Front Cover Back Cover Sunday Time Theatrical Release British Audience 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 7.
    A report for the Centre National de la Cinématographie showed that in the 1980s, four prints constituted a wide release for a French-language film; but in 2007, nine French-language films were distributed on more than 40 prints. Caroline Dequet, Rapport Sur La Distribution Et L’exportation Du Film Français En Europe (Paris: CNC, 1991), 44;Google Scholar
  2. Cécile Renaud, Selling French Cinema to British Audiences: 2001–2009 (unpublished thesis, University of Southampton, 2012), Appendix A.Google Scholar
  3. 8.
    Mark Betz, Beyond the Subtitle: Remapping European Art Cinema (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2009), 28.Google Scholar
  4. 9.
    Barbara Klinger, Beyond the Multiplex: Cinema, New Technologies and the Home (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006);Google Scholar
  5. Barbara Klinger, ‘The DVD Cinephile’, in Film and Television After DVD, eds. James Bennett and Tom Brown (New York: London: Routledge. 2008), 19–44;Google Scholar
  6. Paul McDonald, Video and DVD Industries (London: British Film Institute, 2007).Google Scholar
  7. 10.
    Paul McDonald, ‘What’s on? Film Programming, Structured Choice and the Production of Cinema Culture in Contemporary Britain’, Journal of British Cinema and Television 7, no. 2 (2010), 264–298.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 11.
    KPMG, Specialised Exhibition and Distribution Strategy (London: UK Film Council, 2002), Appendix A1.Google Scholar
  9. 12.
    UK Film Council, Group and Lottery Annual Report and Financial Statements 2008/2009 (London: Crown Copyright, 2009), 11, https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/248139/0904.pdf.Google Scholar
  10. 23.
    Mark Cousins, ‘After the End: Word of Mouth and Caché’, Screen 48, no. 2 (2007), 225.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 25.
    UK Film Council, The Prints & Advertising Fund Guidelines For Applicants (London: UK Film Council, 2010), 5.Google Scholar
  12. 27.
    Mark Betz. ‘Art, Exploitation, Underground’, in Defining Cult Movies: The Cultural Politics of Oppositional Taste, ed. Mark Jancovich (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2003), 202–222.Google Scholar
  13. 28.
    Lucy Mazdon, ‘Vulgar, Nasty and French: French cinema in Britain in the 1950s’, Journal of British Cinema and Television 7, no. 3 (2010), 421–438.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 37.
    Bradley Schauer, ‘The Criterion Collection in the New Home Video Market: An Interview with Susan Arosteguy’, Velvet Light Trap 56 (2005), 33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 39.
    UK Film Council, UK Audience Development Scheme: Context, Strategic Fit, and Audience Issues (London: UKFC, 2006).Google Scholar
  16. 40.
    Catherine Grant, ‘Auteur Machines? Auteurism and the DVD’, in Film and Television after DVD, eds. James Bennett and Tom Brown (London: Taylor & Francis, 2008), 101–115.Google Scholar
  17. 42.
    On the association between French cinema and the thriller genre, see Jill Forbes, The Cinema in France after the New Wave (London: British Film Institute, 1992), 53.Google Scholar
  18. 45.
    Ben McCann and David Sorfa, The Cinema of Michael Haneke (Europe Utopia: Wallflower Press, 2009); McDonald, Video and DVD Industries, 61.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Cécile Renaud 2015

Authors and Affiliations

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations