French films' success at home in 2001 has been mirrored at the international level. From early January to mid-December, 2001, French-language films registered a hike of 120% in results in foreign theaters compared to 2000.
These figures, gathered by Unifrance in the 7 key international territories, bear witness to a record high in 2001 for French films abroad.
Two new developments are worth highlighting. Firstly, the diversity of films and their directors clearly demonstrates that the broadening of genres covered by French film production at this time has not overshadowed the status of large-scale productions by well-known directors, whose films continue to travel the international circuit due to their universal appeal. French cinema has thus broadened the audiences it attracts.
Secondly, we can observe less disparity between successful films on the domestic and international fronts, an indication that large-scale French productions are achieving more international appeal than in the past.
Results were up threefold in Germany, multiplied by a factor of 2.5 in the United States and Spain, doubled in Quebec, with the 7 countries in the zone monitored all showing an increase for French-language films. These films totaled over 1 million admissions in each country, and more than 3 million admissions in 4 countries: the United States, Germany, Spain and Italy. French-language films' international record of 26 million spectators registered in 1999 looks set to be broken in 2001.
Unlike in the prosperous year of 1999 in which "Asterix" captured half of all admissions to French-language films, 2001 witnessed the bursting forth of numerous titles onto the international arena, well and truly supplementing results earned on the home front.
It is without a doubt "Amelie" by Jean-Pierre Jeunet that led the show, although this film, which has come to symbolize the current success of French cinema, was not the only triumph. Other winning titles include "The Crimson Rivers" by Mathieu Kassovitz, "The Closet" by Francis Veber, "Brotherhood of the Wolf" by Christophe Gans, "The Taste of Others" by Agnès Jaoui, "Yamakasi" by Ariel Zeitoun, "Belphegor" by Jean-Paul Salomé, "The Piano Teacher" by Michael Haneke, "The Lady and the Duke" by Éric Rohmer, "Nightcap" by Claude Chabrol and "Under the Sand" by François Ozon.
Despite the release of fewer mega-productions shot in the English language in 2001 in the likes of "The Ninth Gate" and "The Messenger" in 2000, results for French foreign-language films nonetheless stood their ground. Two titles in very different veins were largely responsible for the healthy results: "Kiss of the Dragon" by Chris Nahon and "Intimacy" by Patrice Chéreau (which is soon to cross the million admissions mark abroad).
The efforts made in the early stages by writers, filmmakers and producers, followed up by the determination of foreign distributors, reaped substantial rewards. The hike of 120% registered in a single year bears witness to the high growth margin that French cinema is still capable of achieving outside its own borders.
The complete results will be discussed during a press conference to be held as part of the EUROPEAN MEETING WITH FRENCH CINEMA, Saturday, January 12, 2002, at 9.30 a.m. (Sofitel Le Faubourg 15, rue Boissy d’Anglas, 75008 Paris). It will be co-presided by David Kessler, General Manager of the Centre National du Cinématographie, and by Unifrance's President, Daniel Toscan du Plantier.
Latest update : 23 April 2009 à 13:02 CEST