Could you describe the programing approach at Bunkamura Le Cinéma?
It's a theater located in the Shibuya neighborhood, in a cultural complex that also comprises a concert hall, a theater for live performance, a museum, a café called Les Deux Magots, and our screen, Le Cinéma. The films we program correspond to the taste of the people who come to this complex: they are often films about art, literature, dance, painting. Only non-Japanese films, and among them, a certain number of French films, such as The Paris Opéra, Reset, Cézanne and I, and Dior and I.
Does the Japanese public regularly change?
Our audiences are predominantly made up of older people. Attempts have been undertaken to get school classes or students to come along, but these initiatives are still in their infancy. It all depends on the film. For example, we marketed Things to Come to rather mature women, given the film's storyline. But Mia Hansen-Løve, who is much appreciated by younger film-lovers, little by little also drew in younger audiences. The same thing happened with Blue is the Warmest Color, which attracted very diverse audiences. Abdellatif Kechiche's film was however shown in three cinemas, not only at Bunkamura.
What has been your biggest success in recent years?
Dior and I by Frédéric Tcheng, which made 40 million yen in box office revenues [around €320.000]. We'd co-bought the film, which occurs in a few exceptional cases. We are very demanding as programmers, but even more so as distributors! We've got to take care, and ensure that these films have a clear potential with our public. We can have a certain influence on distributors, who, if they hesitate buying a film, but if it's a title that we like, will nevertheless perhaps take the risk of picking it up. We talk about it with each other, it's a mutual act, a synergy. Every year we organize a festival that allows us to meet distributors of films likely to interest us, but which are sometimes expensive to buy. If the asking price of a film lowers enough - because of a lack of distributor interest - so that we are the only theater to program it, this is the mix we prefer! Everything is then a question of strategy and budget. And then there are the admissions. 10,000 admissions, it's barely viable. Double that, and you can talk about a success!