A cinema without borders in Europe, rather than European cinema
by Aude Hesbert - Déléguée générale du Festival Paris Cinéma
30/06/2011 - The notion of European cinema is today an artistic and conceptual nonsense. Its only raison d'être is one based on borders and it is born out of a grouping of nationalities, themselves often founded on purely administrative criteria. It brings together the best as well as the worst, national blockbusters with purely local reach, quality products capable of making the journey beyond the border, as well as the most demanding arthouse film.
Europe, land of refuge for production
If Europe has a role to play today, it is much more as a refuge for production, diversity and circulation that helps to perpetuate an artistic tradition and reach out to a wide audience. If we want Europe today to speak to its citizens, it has to be more than just an administrative structure, it has to take on a political dimension, it has to embody – as it managed to do after the war - strong ideas and values, and stop looking inwards, towards increasingly administrative and intangible criteria. Why would a Japanese or an Egyptian film enjoy less legitimacy in Europe? Why would funding for a festival that supports purely European films be more legitimate than for a festival that support a certain idea of film, of mise en scène, of cultural diversity and the transmission of those concepts?
Who better today supports Iranian, Vietnamese, Philippene or Chinese arthouse film better than Europe? A number of films from these countries are seen by real audiences in Europe, while they are ignored in their country of origin, and a number of these films would not exist without the faith, commitment and courage of passionate European producers. This is Europe’s strength – that of the public, its curiosity, its creative industry and openness to the world - that must be preserved and cultivated.
The Festival Paris Cinéma and Paris Project, its platform for international co-production, are not European events, in the sense that they do not receive support from the media and they do not select films purely because of their European origin. Instead, the festival exists on the idea that Paris, at the heart of Europe, has the duty to perpetuate an artistic and industry tradition, that of being the driving force of independent cinema production. We position ourselves as a concrete example of exchanges between European professionals and other regions of the world, between these professionals and the public, to ensure that the vitality of cinema in Europe continues to be it prides and to spread across the world.