On this day marked by the 125th anniversary of the first paid cinema screening in France, Thierry Frémaux calls for the rescue of cinemas in the columns of the JDD.
The health crisis has greatly disrupted cinemas, forced to close their doors until further notice. Faced with this unprecedented situation, Thierry Frémaux, artistic director of the Institut Lumière and general manager of the Cannes festival, has stepped up to the plate.
For the celebration of the 125th anniversary of the first paid cinema screening in France, Thierry Frémaux launched a vibrant call to save theaters. In the JDD columns, he urges the government to reopen cinemas. Also invited to RTL microphone, the director of the Cannes Film Festival lamented the fact that cinema and theater “are not considered essential to our lives.”
“On December 28, the cinemas will be 125 years old. And this celebration will be done with sadness. Because for the first time they are in danger. What two world wars could not do, a virus has succeeded, insidiously , in an infernal stop-and-go. Twice, in 2020, the cinemas closed their doors and turned off their screens. There would have been, Monday, better way to celebrate them. As if that were not enough, the operators and cinema lovers must watch the platforms take over family treasures, films, filmmakers and moviegoers.
On the side of the editorialists, rather than the umpteenth paper on the death of cinema, we would have liked a tender thought, a few words of gratitude, that it be repeated what the seventh art brings to civilization. In the feverish wait for 2021, spectators have spoken. They came back during the first deconfinement, they were ready to do it again on December 15 for the second, and they will come back at the first opportunity. Lumière invented the rooms, the public reinvents them, it is his presence that makes them magic. On December 28, 1895, he had the right intuition: what people needed was to be together to share the emotions of the world. The platforms, which cannot do without us, are not Edison’s revenge: television has been around since the 1950s. Cinema has seen others.
Because of collective emotions, we always need. In their absence, the halls, which are our houses, our churches and our rituals, have never been so present. When will we meet again? Soon it must be. We want to go back to a theater where there is no “Pause” button. See, on a big screen, a film that we will discover. Sitting next to someone we don’t know. Rediscover the promises that cinema has always kept and which will never disappear. “
Find the complete letter from Thierry Frémaux in The JDD.
Are cinemas threatened with extinction?