Here’s the other perspective in Café De Flore, which explores the parallel fates of a young mother with a disabled son in 1960s Paris and a divorced, successful DJ in contemporary Montreal. Jean-Marc Vallée (C.R.A.Z.Y, The Young Victoria), directed the film that stars Vanessa Paradis, Kevin Parent and Hélène Florent. Adopt Films releases Café De Flore in the U.S. on November 2nd:
Café De Flore explores the parallel fates of Jacqueline, a young mother with a disabled son in 1960s Paris, and Antonio, a recently divorced, successful DJ in present-day Montreal. Jean-Marc Vallée (C.R.A.Z.Y, The Young Victoria), directed the film, which stars Vanessa Paradis (Girl On The Bridge). Adopt Films releases Café De Flore on November 2nd.
Ticket sales in France reached 104.2 million between January and June this year, according to state body Centre National de la Cinématographie. Box office hit €640 million ($813 million).
The admissions rise was choked off in June though, partly because of the World Cup and partly because of weak film releases. June admissions fell by 4.4% year-on-year to 10.7 million.
Hollywood increased its market share to 52.3% over the first six months. France’s share of the box office fell to 38.5% compared with 40% in 2009. This is despite local films such as holdover Le Petit Nicolas grossing €5.7 million and L’Amacoeur (Heartbreaker), starring Vanessa Paradis, earning €4 million through les tourniquets.
I’m told that French producers are feeling the pinch just like everybody else. Last year, the average French production cost €5.1 million to produce compared with €6.4 million in 2008.
The government is talking about reducing the total amount people can write off their tax bills by 10%. France is trying to tackle its national debt crisis just like every other European country. This would be bad news for France’s Sofica tax break. Last year, Soficas injected €36 million ($45 million) in 98 movies, investing on average €370,000 in each feature. Half of all French feature productions use the tax break, including some English-language films.
“It’s cheap money from the producer’s point of view,” one insider tells me.
Worse, the cash-strapped Finance Ministry could cap the amount each Sofica can raise. Or combine the across-the-board 10% tax reduction with slashing the total Soficas are allowed raise through private investors.
Compared to other French tax shelters, Sofica is risky and long-term, which stands in its favour.
Joel Thibout of French financier Backup Films, which runs two Soficas, tells me he’s sceptical about the government clamping down on Soficas directly though. “There’s too much at stake politically given the comparatively tiny amount of money they cost the government,” he says.
French filmmakers have until December to make their feelings known, when next year’s Budget goes to the vote. France’s film and TV producers are a powerful lobby. Given recent demonstrations in Paris when President Sarkozy announced he was raising the pension age to 62, just imagine the media scrum if French stars such as Vanessa Paradis or Vincent Cassel take to the barricades.