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France is under attack!!

They weren’t able to save the Taliban, they won’t be able to save Saddam Hussein but, by gum, they’re going to dig their heels in and fight to the last drop of precious blood to save the French film industry:

“French directors and intellectuals say American films are producing a generation of “stupid children” in the country.”

And, to compound matters, they’re now running the place.

“I go very often to schools, and I have found a lot of young kids have difficulties in analysing a concept, an idea, in a film.”

Maybe that’s true but Hollywood would not be my prime suspect here.

“If we look at what the United States is exporting to the world that is creative, it has to do with computer, it has to do with software, it has to do with other kinds of technology – not the ideas.”

Well, you don’t need boring old ideas when you’re inventing new technologies and software and things, do you.

“But Phillipe Rogier, author of L’Enemie Americain, said the French were not willingly accepting the increase in American culture in their society.”

Except for French kids apparently, who can’t get enough of it.

“The French would not call it a culture – it is a non-culture, a non-civilisation, just a way of life,” Rogier contends.”

A merest, meanest existance. A hollow, empty sham. A pointless, soulless skimming over a vast ocean of nothingness. So primitif, so barbare, so SIMPLISME!!!.

“This has been central to French attitudes towards America.”

No kidding!!

“Ultimately, Tavernier insists, the films are the first step of an American takeover of France.”

What’s the second step and when it is scheduled for?

“They always understood that the first way to occupy a country was to impose their films.”

Oh damn!! Somebody call the Pentagon, quick. They’ve gone and spent all these squintillions of dollars on Cruise Missiles and Aircraft Carriers when they could occupy Iraq by just sending in Martin Scorsese.

Note: The linked article on the BBC website is not satirical.

59 comments to France is under attack!!

  • You missed the money quote from the article. Describing French children:

    “They will admire very much how the Nazi officer is blowing up the brains of somebody [Jewish] in Schindler’s List, they say ‘oh that’s very well done, it’s exciting.’.” [Brakets mine]

    Now, I don’t think it was Hollywood that taught them that. This is the stuff you learn at home….

  • Ted Schuerzinger

    I guess I just must be one of those dumb Americans. I saw “Day for Night”, and while it wasn’t a bad movie, I couldn’t figure out what in it makes film critics get orgasmic about François Truffaut.

    As for sending Martin Scorcese into Iraq, several years back American humorist Dave Barry suggested we solve our problems with Iraq by parachuting a legion of lawyers into the country. But that’s a topic for another post, if I can find my copy of that article. 😉

  • Byron

    Hahahahaha! All your country are belong to us! Resistance is futile! Die, cheese-eating surrender monkeys!

  • Markku Nordstrom

    Ted, I enjoyed your comment. I remember seeing “Day for Night” 25 years ago in Finland when it came out, and I couldn’t figure out what the big flap was all about. Later on I learned that Truffaut made “400 blows” in the 50’s – which was probably the only worthwhile movie he ever made.

    Truffaut is vastly overrated. But he hung around the right people at the right time, and he knew how to milk the magic of his first hit: that was the secret to his continuing success.

    I’d love to find that Dave Barry blog, too!

  • Tokyo Taro

    I don’t think it’s funny to mock stereotypes of French intellectuals/filmmakers as laughably pompous, pretntious,….wait. Did you say this article was not satire?!

    Of course this filmmaker believes that films are the most important measuring stick for a society. Any policy not taking film, especially the French Cinema into account, would be foolish in the extreme. Why have these people not been consulted in crafting France’s cultural policy and middle school curriculae, as well as U.S. policy on Iraq, and why hasn’t Hollywood lavished awards and film commissions on this gentleman? I demand to know! (Actually, although I joke, for all I know, he has helped craft France’s culture and education policy.)

  • Michael Farris

    Day for Night was a little over-rated, on the other hand Troufaut did do some good movies besides 400 blows. I have very fond memories of Stolen Kisses (the final scene is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen, in a completely unconventional way) and the Wild Child is also worthwhile even if it can’t solve the puzzle of what’s going on Victor’s head (no movie can).

    In othter words, for once (just this once) the French are absolutely right!
    I lurve myself some French cinema. Watching a Rohmer movie that’s 2 hours long without a single blessed thing happening except for people talking about life is bliss (and to be fair, there’s often quite a lot going on, but you have to pay attention).

    And let’s face it, the dumbing down of most American movies is pretty undeniable. Talking about most American movies after you’ve seen them is either pointless or a series of “did you see when that dude blew up? It was fuckin’ awesome!!”

    More French movies!!!

  • Isn’t France still an example of an official elite dominating a media and projecting a certain image of their country that is not accepted by the vast majority of their fellow countrymen who tend to act with their wallets.

    That said, US culture has declined and local content has risen around the world in the past ten years. A noticeable trend and one that shows most people prefer to watch themselves. The downside is that its 26 variations on Big Brother of The Weakest Link (which, of course, is European pap).

  • Ironically one of the best French movies I’ve seen in years, “The Brotherhood of the Wolf,” is blatant ripoff of Hong Kong action films.

  • Roger Simon

    As a professional Hollywood screenwriter, I have to say this entire debate is silly. Both Hollywood and French movies of recent vintage have been pretty putrid. You have to go back to the Seventies to find an era when there were a substantial number of interesting films on either side. And cinema itself may be on an irrevsrible decline. And so what? Different epochs beget different art froms. It’s always been that way. France is desperate for anything that makes it seem important. It isn’t.

  • Michael Farris

    “That said, US culture has declined and local content has risen around the world in the past ten years.”

    That is generally true on Polish TV. For a year or so the great majority of the most popular TV series are locally produced soap-operas, sit-coms and a hospital drama (with the perplexing title of “for better or worse”). Movies on TV are still predominantly from the US.
    The usual suspect game and reality shows are also present in local form.

    Also in the last year or two there have certainly been a number of French movie theater successes in Poland.

  • Liberty Belle

    M Tavernier states that films are a first step of an American takeover of France. Does M Tavernier have any theories that would explain why on the earth the United States (or any other country) would want France, even if handed to them on a plate?

  • Cheese-eating monkey

    Bertrand Tavernier’s many views, including the ones about “american cultural invasion” are considered by most of other french film industry professionals (and intellectuals) as extremists.

    In the current international situation, I think I understand why he’s precisely THE ONE that BBC quotes.

    I think I understand as well that Philippe Roger (and not “Rogier”) is quoted because of the title of his book “L’ennemi américain”. But Philippe Roger is an America lover ! His book – despite its provocative title – is a moderate, subtle, well-documented analysis of French-American relationships.

    I would not make such compliments to the anonymous “journalist” that wrote this BBC paper.

  • S. Bolmat

    But the European mass production is usually (Luc Besson is a lucky exeption) unbelievably bad even by the worst Hollywood standards! French “Asterix and Obelix” is stunningly, mercilessly stupid! On the other hand there are some good “small” movies on the both sides of Atlantic. But the Hollywood commercial blockbusters are still much better than the European ones. Tavernier & Co have only one thing to blame – their arrogant attitude toward mass culture.

  • pequod

    He says “American takeover of France” like it’s a BAD thing.

  • S. Weasel

    “Ironically one of the best French movies I’ve seen in years, “The Brotherhood of the Wolf,” is blatant ripoff of Hong Kong action films.”

    Geez, that thing was awful. Talk about your mindless splatter films! It was cheesy, an hour too long, and the foley artist was a psycho. He cranked up all the sound effects until you could feel them resonate in your chest cavity.

    By the end of the film, the audience was snickering whenever Our Hero would, say, walk up the steps of a cottage, and the soundtrack went “FOOM! FOOM! FOOM!”

  • G Cooper

    “In the current international situation, I think I understand why he’s precisely THE ONE that BBC quotes.”

    The above quote illuminates the sub-text here. The BBC types responsible for this article probably hold exactly those opinions they are attributing to the French. It’s a proxy attack.

    The attitude of French intellectuals towards the US is a matter of (hilarious) record. That of intellectuals in the UK is becoming scary – not so much because it is so virulent, but because it has been spread like a disease. Knee-jerk anti-Americanism is becoming disturbingly common – just look at the BBC’s message boards.

  • The French state has effectively neutered French culture by the simple fact of misunderstanding that State and Society are completely different things… hence idiotic language laws, local content laws for the media etc. etc. … these things show that the French political class know that unless compelled by law, French PEOPLE will choose non-French movies and music over the state subsidized crap produced by the political classs’ state serving media whores.

    This also leads to moronic ideas like if you give people a CHOICE (a Hollywood movie or a French movie) and that person chooses the one the political class does not like (i.e. the Hollywood movie), that is ‘American cultural imperialism’ and yet using the violence of law to MANDATE what people can see on the media in France is a sign “the French were not willingly accepting the increase in American culture in their society”… actually it is a sign that the French political class are imposing their will on a French society that does not share its values. No wonder London has such a huge ex-pat French population!

  • Liberty Belle

    I see Tavernier also said that the Americans are forcing people to watch their films. He doesn’t explain how. S Bolmat hits the nail on the head when he talks about French contempt for popular culture. Their movies are unwatchable. Their TV is worse. The only halfway decent things on are dubbed British plays and series, and copies of British shows. Needless to say, the copies are done ineptly, because the people making the shows are filled with deusions of grandeur, and can’t connect with what the ordinary viewer might find engaging at the end of the day.

  • Well, that’s enough mindless amusement for one day. Time to book a flight to Paris on the Concorde, round up some helpless French children and force them to sit through the entire Die Hard trilogy. And no pouting will be tolerated, or they’ll get the Lethal Weapon movies thrown in for good measure.

    Ah, the life of a cultural imperialist!

  • Brian

    Speaking of French movies, every anti-war march or spasm of Bush=Hitler rhetoric I see reminds me of Louis Malle’s May Fools (Milou en mai). A good flick.

  • You know, a French porn I saw once had excellent production value. The wardrobe dept. should have been lauded, and the locations were pristine.

    Maybe the French Film Industry can cling to that bastion of cultural superiority.

  • Jabba the Tutt

    I saw “Amelie” on cable last week. I thought it was a very sweet movie with zero of the usual ‘stylish’ Euronihilism. The characters were accessible and appealing. The story was unique. Not as good as the Japanese ‘Shall We Dance’, but well worth watching.

  • Paul Zrimsek

    Martin Scorsese will be flying over this week to accept the French surrender.

  • Hal

    This article makes the common error of confusing entertainment with culture. The intellectual side of American civilization (i.e. culture) may have little or nothing to do with short stories told via astounding visual effects (i.e. entertainment). Although some film may contribute to
    culture, it makes no sense to insist that all film should. Perhaps the French film industry would be better off if it could grasp this distinction.

  • JorgXMcKie

    First, this is obviously a continuation of “high” vs. “low” culture. The main difference appears to be the ability to waste vast amounts of personal resources (especially time) or not. “High” culture is a deliberate class barrier. Of effing course snooty Frenchies and others would be dismissive of American films. You don’t have to spend months and years memorizing arcane terms and deciphering or deconstructing the plot or the dialogue.

    One earns one’s way into the upper (cultural) classes by assiduously imprinting whatever the current resource-expensive flavor of the day is. Of course, so long as one continues to kiss derriere, one is allowed to continue as a hanger-on even if one no longer produces the required drivel — Thus, Truffaut.

    Also, about 15 years ago my (future) wife and I went to see a sub-titled version of “The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover.” Boy! The message was delivered with an early stone version of Emperor Misha’s ClueBat (TM). There were four basic backgrounds with absurdly appropriate colors (earthy browns, etc for the kitchen, lavish reds for the dining room, cold blue for the restroom [in which most of the liaison took place]), and the effect of scene-change was remarkably similar to being beaten repeatedly over the head. When asked her opinion of the movie, my wife said, “30 seconds of message, 1.5 hours of movie, repeated psychological beatings of the viewer.”

    Sounds about right in general to me.

  • Loath as I am to defend French self-importance, I’m afraid I think they have a point, and make some good films.

    So do Americans, Danes, Scots, Italians and lots of other people. Yes the French often stoop to cultural snobbishness and elitism, but I have to say they have made a lot of very accessible crime thrillers, action films, and some lovely romantic comedies [as have many other nations, of course].

    Also a lot of Hollywood output is startlingly pretentious and vain. One of the reasons we don’t usually accuse American films of being elitist is that when they try [some of Woody Allen’s more self-adoringly “meaningful” films jump to mind, and the periodic “I’m also a thespian” low-budget vehicles Hollywood stars pose in] they fall so far short of success it never even occurs to most of us how deeply full of itself the intended product was.

    The real issue French filmmakers moan about [with some justification] is what economists call ‘dumping’. Dumping is selling at a profit in your home market and using that profit to sell the same product in the intended export market for less than local producers can afford to compete with.

    With films this has happened by accident, but it has most certainly happened. The size of the US market has meant that for the last eighty years, LA films can break even at home and export sales are often pure profit – enabling them to consistently undercut the price of films made in export markets by people from those countries.

    French filmgoers’ “preference” for Hollywood output is an invalid objection, because, by the above, US filmmakers can sell high-budget films with expensive production values to French cinema distributors for less than even subsidised French filmmakers can make similarly high-budget, expensive, SFX-rich products. France [like most countries] simply doesn’t have the size of market to produce the full range of films French people would like to see, and so a taste for the American product has been built up over several decades because it looks so much more expensive and yet can be consistently priced more cheaply. Culturally acclimatising people to consume a certain kind of product is a real economic effect, and it’s rarely achieved through fair trade.

    While not as planned as Japan’s MITI-guided systematic targetting of British industries like motorcycles, radios, TVs, cars – wiping each one out in turn by predatory loss-leader pricing through the 50s and 60s – the effect of Hollywood on most countries’ national film industries has been just as devastating.

    French intellectuals’ final point – that the sense of cultural and national identity regular film-viewing can influence make it perhaps a rather more important kind of dumping than industries like car-manufacturing – is very fair. I might happen to think the French could benefit from being culturally more Americanised, but their claim that film dumping subverts or seduces your country from its own traditions is supported by a pretty valid argument.

  • mark

    That just doesn’t wash. If size of home market was the determinant factor in the international market than why aren’t the French (and the rest of us for that matter) complaining about the ‘cultural imperialism’ of Bollywood or the Chinese?

    As in other matters where the government does not intervene, market leaders are determined by public choice and the scruffy French polity is clearly choosing to watch American movies when they go the cinema. If the French (and others) actually wanted to see French movies then the French film industry would be booming. It really is that simple.

    The only culture that requires active suppressing is the victim culture under which far too many people (regardless of their nationality) place the blame for their own shortcomings on the alleged ‘unfairness’ of their competitors rather than trying to compete successfully.

  • S. Weasel

    “US filmmakers can sell high-budget films with expensive production values to French cinema distributors for less than even subsidised French filmmakers can make ”

    Film distributors pay different amounts for different films? It would have to be substantial to affect which films they were willing to carry. Why don’t they pass those costs along to the consumer?

  • S. Bolmat

    Why Mark’s “dumping theory” doesn’t work with such French movies as “The Fifth Element” or “Amelie”? Or “Mulholland Drive” (sorry)? I think, it is because Jeanne-Pierre Jeunet did “Alien Resurrection” in Hollywood before he did “Amelie”. There are some European folks who can make a good blockbuster. But generally speaking, European school of popular cinema is much weakier than American. Note, that Japanese or Coreans don’t complain that much about American mass production: they have their own – and sometimes of astonishing quality. And the size of the market doesn’t matter much, I think, this market is open for everybody – just stop to moan and do the right thing.

  • JDB

    Roger is “in the industry” and Mark raises some interesting points about “dumping” so they both know more than me, a curious outsider, but I always understood that the biggest box office earners overseas were the simplistic, low brow, action flicks. With minimal dialogue, rote characterizations, and lots of special effects and explosions, these movies (I won’t dignify them by calling them films) “translate” well to non-English speaking audiences. That is, they are accessible but give a very slanted or one dimensional view of America and our society.

    Not just France but perhaps more importantly, the Third World, embrace these horror shows but are also misled by them and repulsed by their “message”. It’s as if I were to base my knowledge of Japan and Japanese society on the ubiquitous Saturday morning cartoons shown here in the States.

    We often hear from French intellectuals but not as much from the workaday Pierres and Marie-Anges. They vote with their francs and choose what they like. Unfortunately, it isn’t always flattering.

    Several years ago, a Swedish friend came to stay for a month’s vacation here in the States. While I enjoyed Scandanavian films like “Pelle The Conqueror” and “My Life As A Dog”, he insisted on watching “Die Hard”-type videos (often banned in Sweden) because, he told me, he wanted to see what his government was protecting him from…best line in “Die Hard”–when the Euro villain tells Bruce Willis, “You Americans are a bunch of cowboys”, Willis responds, “Ki-Yippie-yi-yay, M*ther F*cker!”

  • bigfan

    Two words: Jerry Lewis

  • Russ Goble

    Dear God, there are so many things wrong with the BBC article, I don’t know where to begin. Naturally the Samizdata folks (Perry & David) pretty well point out the most important fact: People CHOOSE to see these movies. I think Hal’s post is spot on as well.

    mark’s thesis regarding dumping and the like has some points but also miss so many others. Without going into too much detail, dumping is one of those things that is not as bad as it sounds. Selling something below costs is often an economic necessity. Hell, companies dump domestically all the time. Ever heard of clearance sells? Or even free months of service for AOL or any ISP?

    Now, if we have government subsidized dumping, then that’s a different animal and perfectly exceptable to bitch about. But, I’m willing to bet that most Hollywood blockbusters are not getting money from the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA).

    Without going too much into a pissing contest over which “nation” makes better films, what really matters is consumer choice. Do consumers have the ability to make proper choices, free of government interferance? In France, it appears they have LESS choice. You may not be able to see any foreign film you like in any American city during it’s first run, but I’d be willing to be you are just a few clicks away from ordering the DVD.

    Mark’s point about the respective budgets is simply laughable. Most French film is subsidized, whereas most American commercial films are not. How then is it that the American films have bigger budgets? Hmmm…could it be because people actually PAY to see American movies? Seriously, if there was not a demand for American blockbusters, film companies wouldn’t bother jumping through the many French regulatory hoops to show a film there. As David Carr said “It really is that simple.”

    And someone also noted why isn’t Japanese or Indian film producers bitching as much as the French. Because the French have made “their culture” the single most important aspect of the French nation state. And naturally, that culture is defined by the elites, not the masses.

  • Jim

    How can anyone even begin to take the French seriously when one considers their “Académie Française.”

    The Académie attempts to maintain the purity of the French language (for example, by providing lists of French words that are suitable alternatives to the influx of English neologisms, such as replacing tie-break with jeu décisif, walkman with baladeur, or software with logiciel)

    This is a culture so afraid of change that they even mandate how many French language songs can be played on the radio to every one song in English.

    And how, exactly, did we push our films on them?? Did we airdrop them like we did with the 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions??

  • Russ Goble

    Now, the article itself has so many statements that are self-evidently stupid:

    “He added that now children only went to films to see the special effects. ”

    “They will admire very much how the Nazi officer is blowing up the brains of somebody in Schindler’s List, they say ‘oh that’s very well done, it’s exciting.’.”

    Now, my first thought is that “don’t blame Speilberg because the audience doesn’t understand the context”. MY second thought is that Schindler’s list was rated R and had to be heavily edited to get that rating. Maybe it’s not for the kiddies to begin with. Now, I don’t know how movie ratings are handled in Europe, but over here they really are kind of handy, if a touch draconian and poorly thought out at times.

    “As early as 1927, the French Government had made a failed attempt at limiting the number of American movies being shown in France.”

    “They always understood that the first way to occupy a country was to impose their films.”

    If American movies are a way of occupying a nation and they’ve been making this complaint since 1927, then we must be doing one piss-poor job of occupying France. I mean the Nazi’s used tanks and took over the place in, what, two weeks? Maybe tanks and airplanes instead of film is a better method of force projection. But that could just be me. I don’t have as nuanced a view as your average French director.

    Seriously, this whole article is absurd. Just because Independence Day had the depth of napkin doesn’t mean “Americans” are incapable of making a good film. The LoTR movies are both blockbusters and damn good. Ah…but they don’t qualify as a good arthouse flick do they? Look, there are plenty of good and bad movies being produced by American film companies. It’s a diverse market. If the French are not getting to see any of the good films, then maybe they should bitch at the French cultural minister rather than at “Americans.”

    But the bigger thing is that American films are better or worse than French films. Utlimately, individuals are behind these films and it is individual film goer who chooses to see the movie or not.

    I have a friend who is Swedish and she tells me that many “Europeans” truly believe in this whole cultural imperialism bullshit. And she understands that it is crap but she doesn’t know how to explain that. I’ll try to do if for her and each of you who may want to pass this along:

    McDonald’s, Starbucks, 20th Century Fox and Dreamworks do not, DO NOT, have offices inside the U.S. State Department. It is not Colin Powell picking out which corner in Paris to stick the next Starbucks. In Bush’s downtime (you know, when not planning out other American imperialist measures), he’s not thinking: “we were so much better at occupying France when Jerry Lewis was still making movies instead of getting fat and doing that whole telethon thing.”

    Really, the government does not tell U.S. companies where to sell their wares. That’s not to say they don’t have an interest and if there is a big enough company needing help at getting past some regulation, somebody at the state department might make a few phone calls, but on the whole American exports are sold overseas because of that whole “invisible hand” and “supply and demand” mumbo jumbo. Not because of some dictate by the State Department or the CIA.

    I know that’s hard for the elites of Europe to understand, given that they’ve been trying for years to do things in exactly the manner I just described. But, in America, that’s simply not how it works. I know most of the people on this board understand all that, but I just figured I’d put it into writing in case you wanted to pass it along to your family and friends, for their understanding.

  • I wish the film dumping argument could be dismissed as easily as “it won’t wash”, David! It’s a bit more solid than that, though.

    Both India’s Bollywood and the Chinese have to export across a bigger cultural divide than one European-language-speaking culture [the US] ro another European-speaking-culture [France], and there is also the issue of how much different industries tried to export out of their country – or were able to [India was a British colony for the first forty years of international filmmaking, China had decades of problems with internal censorship and overt propaganda from its Communist party setting a hard-to-export agenda for films].

    The crucial point is that filmmakers like the French argue that there has been a cumulative effect over decades, which is hard to reverse with one or two local blockbusters. They’re right, as far as I can see. By 1950 perhaps a third or even more of the world had become accustomed for almost half a century to regularly seeing their film fantasies based on American scenarios, [where undubbed] in American-accented English, with American values – almost all of it better-looking and more high-budget than local film product. Indian films and Chinese films had almost no chance [because of their domestic economies, largely] to even start exporting by then. Those industries lost the probably decisive first five decades of world cinema to establish themselves as exportable habits of taste – restaurants yes, filmviewing among non-Indian, non-Chinese moviegoers, no.

    I repeat – this may be a good thing – perhaps even a very good thing. We British have largely benefitted from the anglicisation of much of world’s imagination for example. But to deny that this effect has occurred, and largely because of accidental US film dumping over eighty years or so, is difficult to do with any honesty.

    As I said, Russ, American filmmakers don’t need NEA subsidies because they have had the benefit of a larger domestic market for the last eight, nine decades of filmmaking. I’m not saying this justifies non-American filmmakers pleading for subsidies.

    But it’s no use saying that eighty years of a bigger domestic market haven’t enabled US filmmakers to establish a taste for their exported higher-budget films to other European-language-speaking countries [and later to everyone else] – I’m afraid they have.

    Weasel interestingly asks why distributors don’t pass on different costs to film viewers. Of course, sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t. If a certain high-budget US film comes cheaper than local product, the French distributor can choose – either directly undercut the local film at the box office [giving French film viewers an incentive to buy tickets for it preferentially] or can charge the same end price, keeping a larger markup as the difference [thus giving that French film distributor an incentive to screen and promote more US product].

    Either way, the answer to Weasel’s question is that the French public will be given more chance to see American product than local, either by increased audiences for a cheaper product, or by a product with a higher mark-up the distributor is understandably keen to promote as much as possible.

    Often, of course, both effects will benefit the American export at once. Cheaper to end-buyers and a bigger mark-up for local promoters.

  • Anthony Martin

    And here I thought that a culture was *defined* as a ‘way of life’.

  • Russ Goble

    Since, the horse is still breathing, I’ll give one last punch. This one is going to be full of overgeneralizatoin, stereotype and good ‘ol talking out of one’s ass about a topic he doesn’t know all that much about.

    A theory: Are “most” European films set in modern day or very recent Europe? And are the characters meant to be similar to the average or even elitist European? What I’m getting at is that the impression from this subtitle-hating American is that most European films seem to be like the average “arthouse” American film. By that I mean they are trying to delve into the “soul” of the “modern” life.

    And while I can appreciate it, there are plenty of films out there that basically are saying “life’s a bitch.” Well, no kidding. I was aware of that. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy these movies. American Beauty was a truly horrible representation of American suburbia, but I still liked it. As a suburbanite, I was offended that the Hollywood types so looked down there noses at what they saw as the insanity causing mundanity of suburban life. Still, It was an interesting story, and, hey, I like Kevin Spacey. Not to say this qualifies as an “arthouse” flick, but it was seen as critical success (I think it cleaned up at the Oscars).

    And there are many movies both American and foreign that try to bring to the big screen their interpretation of “modern life.” But, often people go see movies for escapism. You know, it may not be the deepest plot nor does it contain very many memorable characters, but I still thought Jurassic Park was cool. Why? Because I don’t get to see dinasours in the real world. Nor would I really want to.

    Sure, the acting and the dialogue in the Star Wars movies isn’t particularly good (particularly in Phantom and Jedi), but it still tells and interesting story. It’s fantasy. That’s why I like it. It takes me away from my bills, my stress, my job and on and on. Did it make me smarter? No. But that’s not what I wanted from it. And I wouldn’t rank it up there with non-blockbuster films that I truly loved like Usual Suspects, Memento or Fight Club, but I can enjoy a film for just being something different. A change of pace. You know, ENTERTAINMENT.

    I just get the impression that many continental European films don’t always appreciate this. Again, that’s a broad generalization. It could be that those European efforts don’t get marketed over here. So, I’d be happy to be proven wrong. But, anyway, that’s my theory. Talk amongst yourselves.

  • Absolutely with you on escapism, Russ. I go to films to escape usually.

    But the main reason so many European films are realistic/depressive/non-escapist is that those films are [much] cheaper to make – which takes us back to America’s eighty-year lead in defining what tastes in high-budget escapism and fantasy most of the world is now used to watching.

    I’ve seen some wonderful American low-budget films, and some excellent European high-budget films too. But the US home market before the 2nd world war [twice the size in population of any European semi-free-market country] gave it an enormous cultural-acclimatisation lead we are only just starting to understand.

    Two extra points no-one focussed on
    1] US films are also more exportable because they were designed for a less culturally homogeneous home market [a substantial proportion of 1920s US cinema-goers, perhaps a fifth or more, could only understand rudimentary English – and many of them, quite understandably, were keener on cinema than radio or reading]. French and Italian [and British, and everyone’s in fact] cinema was much more narrowly national in taste than Hollywood, making Hollywood product much easier to export.
    2] The American movie message of freedom-is-good is appealing and optimistic, and many Continental filmmakers have not honestly asked themselves why they resent this message and distrust its power over audiences.

    Nonetheless, I really do think free-marketeers have to face up to the film-dumping advantage American films have built on over almost a century. It doesn’t help the case for free trade when other cultures see English-speakers denying knowledge of unfree trade which went in English-speakers’ favour.

  • Russ Goble

    Mark, I see what you are saying, but I think you are putting too much emphasis on it’s importance.

    I don’t know if individual movies are priced differently than in the states. In the U.S., the type of film has no bearing on the price whereas the location of the theatre, that theatre company’s price and the hour of the day play into the price structure far more than the origin of the film. If American films are profitable because of distribution rights and what not, I don’t know.

    But, unlike cars, computers or any other product where price plays a HUGE roll, people go see films because of their tastes. If French films are more expensive to show than American films, there are probably any number of reasons for that. But, if the DEMAND was high enough for French films, the sheer volume of showing those films would make up the difference.

    What are the statistics for theatres that get to show American AND French films? Which sells more tickets? Also, what about the after market. What films get bought up more on DVD where location, and distribution don’t play as big a role?

    Again, the indivdiual theatre owner might make more profit off of American films, but to get an American film over there is pretty damn hard for a American company. So, to go through the trouble there must be demand.

    Like I said before, I’m not well-rounded enough when it comes to cinema to judge individual quality or the quality of a whole industry. But I do understand simple economics. And I understand that films get seen because people WANT to see them. They WANT to see them because they’ve heard the film was good or because the film was marketed well and it looks to be something interesting. The invidual film goer probably thinks very little about the price.

    And remember the original article was saying that American films are making French more stupid. And that America is “occupying” countries with their movies. The entire crux of the article was simply beyond comprehension to most Americans. The article was basically another example of the French elite trying to project blame for domestic problems onto Americans. It’s insane.

  • mark,

    No, it is no more solid than that. It is merely a variation of the old socialist canard that ascribes the failure of one party to the success of another. It’s the old ‘politics of envy’ French-style.

    “The crucial point is that filmmakers like the French argue that there has been a cumulative effect over decades, which is hard to reverse with one or two local blockbusters.”

    And why is that? Because Hollywood has been making better films for decades. And, yes, it will be hard to reverse but then market decline usually is.

    And so what if India was a British colony? Hong Kong was a British colony up until 1997 and that hasn’t stopped Hong Kong filmmakers from exporting their products all over the world and proving so popular in the West that Hollywood has hired Hong Kong directors and tried to copy their styles.

    Interesting though that you mention restaurants because there is a direct analogy. You don’t need me to tell you how wildly successful Indian and Chinese cuisine has proved to be in Britain. Is this because they produce tasty dishes which have prved very popular with the British public or is because the Chinese and the Indians are ‘unfairly’ dumping their restaurants on us?

    Sorry, Mark, but nothing new here. Just the same line you tried the first time round but fleshed out a bit and if French filmmakers want to be more appreciated then I suggest they stop wingeing about their oppression by the ‘Great Satan’ and start devoting their energies to making movies that their compatriots are actually willing to pay to watch.

  • Johan

    Hehehe…my gosh…I’ve read the whole article, the blog and the comments, and I must say Russ Goble, that you are so right. And to add some more Swedish opinion to your Swedish friend’s (who is also right); so many brainwashed Swedes believe that Bush and his dudes are using the “shallow” American culture to take over and without us knowing it we’ll wake up one day and pledge allegiance to the (American) flag. I’m not surprised though, after roughly 60 years of socialist/communist rule (in Sweden) this is what you have to expect. Heck, Lenin&Stalin did a mistake trying to make their lil’ revolution fast. Sweden is a prime example of what “only” 60 years of socialist rule can do to people. We in Sweden are brainwashed, and this is not a minority; but the majority; the masses; the-state controled-brainwashed-puppets, everyone who cant make their own decisions; who actually believes in a State-who-loves-you; and even I find myself thinking State approved thoughts. It’s scary. And beware of American films and culture, heck, it’s dangerous for the people since it can give them unwanted (by the State) ideas/thoughts/views, and especially a craving for FREEDOM (a bit of William Wallace’s scream would be nice here…). live long and prosper Samizdata

  • S. Weasel

    “But the main reason so many European films are realistic/depressive/non-escapist is that those films are [much] cheaper to make ”

    That doesn’t make a lick of sense.

    For goodness’ sake, you don’t need money to make an upbeat movie, you just need to get your head out of your jaded European rectum. You can be optimistic without special effects. You can be escapist without a cast of thousands.

    Okay, you gotta have effects? The guy who made the Evil Dead did the effects in his attic with stop-motion and plasticine. The guy who made Spy Kids did the effects in his garage with a PC.

    How much fun did you have watching the Blair Witch Project? How cringingly horrible was Independence Day?

  • What nonsense. If we wanted to take over France we wouldn’t bother with a decades long process of subverting their (so-called) culture.

    We’d just send in the army and kick their unwashed asses.

  • Jim

    ACK!!! Rossz is (obliquely) right!!
    My Gawd, we are discussing this in exactly the same way the (shudder!!) French would!!!

    Pardon me, I gotta go take a long, hot shower!

  • Russ Goble

    Mark, I won’t go as far as David Carr and say you have a socialist train of thought, but I do think it’d help to occasionally visit Virginia Postrel’s dynamist.com website because you do have a somewhat static take on things. This 80-year lead you speak of just doesn’t pass muster.

    I mean film is not like computer software, where the technology and know-how is constantly built on past work and because of standards and interoptability the barriar to entry can be very high. In film, each product stands on it’s own. The cultural subtext doesn’t matter. For what you are saying to be true, that would mean the French have lost. It would mean that they are so in tune with American culture, the French films are essentially foreign and therefore not as appealing. I don’t buy it.

    Plus, the head start thing just seems strange. First off, this is France we are talking about, not Nigeria. Hollywood became what it is, not because of any demographic advantages, but because of creativity and marketing and good ol’ Yankee inginuity. Eighty years ago, France was not exactly a backwater with no disposable income. In fact, it was one of the Great Powers. Besides, the excessive international marketing of film is a fairly recent phenomenon.

    Also, the U.S. auto maker’s inherent cultural advantage hasn’t done a bit to prevent Japanese, Swedish and German automakers (sorry Britain) from selling a boatload of cars over here. I mean, my father and 3 uncles each worked for one of the big 3 American automakers and I still have 2 Mazda’s in my garage.

    Trends are not permanent. As for effects, George Lucas’s special effects shop practically invented modern visuals, yet the best effects pictures over the last 2 years have been the LoTR movies, and the work was done by the Hollywood equivalent of a garage band (a company out of New Zealand I believe). Special effects costs have gone way down. Also, we are at the point where effects alone do not sell a picture. Godzilla essentially bombed. Cool effects but Horrible story and characters. The movie audience is very “what have you done for me lately” and are quite bored with the “effects driven picture.” At least in America that’s the case. If the French are still obsessed with effects, then maybe that says something about their level of sophistication (yeah, cheap shot, couldn’t resist).

  • jbelkin

    Wolfang Petersen (born in Germany) has made one of the most jingonistic American movies of all time – Air Force One.

    Some of the most recent “American” movies were made by Indian-American M. Night Shyamalan including SIGNS and THE SIXTH SENSE.

    The 5th Element is French.

    Why do most French movies concern infidelity but usually involves 50-year old men with 20-year old women … or in some cases, under 20?

    Universal is owned by a French company. Sony is owned by a Japanese comglomerate and the chairman of the entertainment division is British.

    Ang Lee has directed Jane Austin and is now tackling The Hulk.

    Most of the biggest box office stars in America were not born here but seem “American” – Arnold, Jackie Chan, Mel Gibson (technically born in US), etc …

    The highest grossing movies in France – you can see two of the highest home grown ones are Asterix movies – essentially historical pratfalls based on a comic strip … others on the list – pretty much what we watch in America and for the French movies on the list – nothing anyone could claim is highly intellectual (Amile – a trifle, charming nice but not much there):


    These are all just random facts/statements to point out there is no black & white in this issue.

    America really is a state of a mind that draws people from all over the world and that’s what bothers the French – the days of the Left Bank are over – artists don’t go to France anymore, they escape from France.

  • Russ Goble

    jbelkin….breaking it down. Great post. And is Peter Jackson (of LoTR fame) American? I want to say he’s British. That’s globalization for ya I guess.

  • I didn’t mean to upset so many people, though obviously a lot of us care about this topic!

    Making upbeat movies on a shoestring budget is absolutely do-able, I agree – and there are plenty of successful optimistic low-budget films on either side of the Atlantic. However I was talking about full-blown fantasy, lavish escapism. Two elements here – making deliberately downbeat movies on a large budget is less likely to happen [that was Orson Welles’ downfall] because the funders of an expensive project [understandably] step in and ask for a happier ending. [This is quite a subtle effect, I think – it means that European filmmakers are often their own worst enemies, as everyone is saying, because they don’t really grasp that they’re in the entertainment business {outside financial backers help you realise that fact!} – but at the same time this self-indulgent-director effect is directly due to the smaller size of the French/Italian/British film markets]

    And the second would be that the lower your budget [I suggest] the more skilful and talented you have to be to do it well.

    Sheer genius can make do with no budget, but for most filmmakers, the smaller the budget the more talent-per-individual is needed to make the idea work [because of course a big budget is a way of buying in chunks of other people’s talent to assist]. American cinema has succeeded in habituating world audiences to its style largely through decade after decade of affordable, glamorous escapism [nothing wrong with that!], with the occasional non-American success shining through.

    I thought that the ‘Blair Witch Project’ was very good [as was the equally bleak ‘Man Bites Dog’, an acidic 1995 Belgian horror-comedy that also pretends it is a black-and-white film-student video] but Blair Witch undoubtably also had very big sales because it could be picked up by a powerful distributor with a large home market in which a small mark-up can allow a big profit. ‘Man Bites Dog’ could not be promoted in the same way [and this is where it gets complicated] partly because of French-language-film-market effects [smaller market, as I keep saying] and partly because of the socialistic subsidy habits of French film promotion that people on this list are [rightly] attacking.

    What everyone is saying is right, but it’s not the whole picture. I’m afraid the British governors who ran India were not the same as those who ran Hong Kong, for example. Hong Kong administrators were usually explicitly pro-free-market. Hong Kong was small enough to be no threat to Britain but a stimulating embarrassment to China. Sadly the same was not true for India, where we [the British] frequently handicapped Indian industries [famously textiles] because India was and is big, and a very real threat to the British export industries of seventy and eighty years ago.

    And the size of market aspect is measurable. If you don’t agree French-speakers are a smaller market than English-speakers, then will you admit someone else is? Does anyone expect Dutch filmmakers to make the same number of films with the same average size of budget as American filmmakers? The Dutch are too sensible to whine about subsidies and cultural imperialism of course, and they have some fine films [I recommend one shoestring-budget late-90s Dutch film, ‘Zusje’ – another pretend amateur video, like ‘Blair Witch’ and ‘Man Bites Dog’]. But is anyone seriously telling me that with an audience of 20-odd million speakers worldwide, a Dutch film industry can simply “make films Dutch cinema-goers want to see” in a level contest with the US? The Dutch do their best, of course, but is anyone seriously claiming that only some brilliance with PlayDo in the garage stands between the Dutch film industry and having the same impact and profits worldwide as the American industry?

    I want to say again that French whining annoys me too! And the message of freedom, and the adaptation to a more internationally-flavoured home market, both helped American cinema build up its position.

    But I don’t see why people are so cross about admitting that US filmmakers also benefitted from having a larger home market than other filmmakers. I’m not talking about geniuses or idiots, but the whole range of film talent together. The size of the US market is exactly why Hollywood can offer those talented European filmmakers bigger salaries than they can get at home, so that they move to the US after one or two of those upbeat low-budget European successes, for example. Is this so hard to admit?

    Next thing everyone will be claiming that the US didn’t erect protective import tariffs for industries like tinmaking and steelmaking in the late 19th century! So as [so it was said] to get American tin smelters and steel mills out from under the British export product, which at the time was cheaper and better than the American product. I believe in free trade, but I do have my eyes open! Sounds to me like the contributors so far would insist those American tin and steel makers should never have been helped by tariffs, or that they would have displaced superior and cheaper British industrial imports just as fast [or even faster?] without tariffs? I don’t believe tariffs will help French film quality [or French ‘culture’], but surely people here don’t think their argument is totally ungrounded?

  • Good points, Russ – but check what I said about Japanese automakers in one of my earlier [far too numerous!] comments tonight!

    The Japanese got to the high-quality/low-price point where you now have two Mazdas in your garage precisely by blocking car imports into Japan while you [and we] good-naturedly allowed exported Japanese cars to enter our markets relatively untariffed. They used profits from their captive domestic market to fund improvements in price and quality in their export product to get to the point where Japanese cars were cheaper and better than US or UK vehicles.

    Tariffs don’t do it alone of course [most of the world has tried and failed with import restrictions alone] – you have to work hard as well, but they worked hard as well.Of course Japan may now be paying dearly for its century of reliance on export-led, predatory dumping to earn its living.

    But the French would claim you have 2 Mazdas in your garage for very similar reasons that many French cinemagoers prefer Hollywood films. A large domestic market [for American films in America or Japanese cars in Japan] helped to fund an eventual improvement in quality over decades of hard work, but not such free trade. Japan kept American cars out for several decades deliberately. The US kept non-American films out for several decades [as I’ve said all along] accidentally.

  • Barbara Skolaut

    Where in the hell did he (or any of them) get the silly-assed idea that America would WANT France? U.S. to France: Get over yourself!

  • Bill

    I have to admit that I almost feel sorry for the French, although not in the way that they’d appreciate. While they may claim that they are protecting their national cultural institutions, at the end of the day, they’re quite simply closing those institutions off: in language, in music, in the letters, and in cinema.
    China did much the same in the Middle Ages. At the time of Marco Polo’s travels, their civilization was far ahead of anything in the West. Within a short few hundred years, that society had become, by and large, a relic.
    It is precisely by cultrual diffusion – adaptation and interaction with other societies – that civilizations evolve, grow, and develop. A civilization that does not do so becomes stagnant, and inevitably ceases to have any relevence outside of an increasingly narrow cultural dialogue.
    Consider, as has been pointed out on this thread, why Hollywood has had so much success in translating its message: largely as it has had to perpetually retailor its medium to successive generations of immigrants and as it has had global accessibility to new approaches (i.e. Hong Kong).
    The French, on the other hand, in the name of preventing “cultural imperialism” (I suspect that the very words might be seen as an insult by actual victims of imperialism), have chosen to have their culture reflect an increasingly tiny and irrelevent discussion.

  • mark,

    I share your enthusiasm for ‘Man Bites Dog’ – ugly, horrifying and utterly compelling.

  • Russ Goble

    Mark, I see what you are saying, to an extent. The economic impact of English speaking films vs. non-English is certainly a factor for the respective film industries. But, I still do not believe it has impact on the QUALITY of the individual films. So, France isn’t as big of a market. But, it’s sufficiently big enough (and the francophone world certainly is) to support a diverse and well rounded movie industry, big budget or not.

    Again, how do French films compare when head to head, all distribution stuff aside. Given the legal requirements for showing enough French films domestically, I’d still wager they get a pretty good chance to compete on a reasonable ground. Also, the French market is big enough for an American film company to underwrite French films for a cut of the profit, assuming it is a lucrative market segment. As someone else noted, Vivendi/Universal isn’t exactly a small company who couldn’t afford to get around some of the domestic barriars.

    But, as was noted before, the original article that was linked too wasn’t complaining about dumping or economies of scale or anything else. It was complaining about the quality of American films and their supposed destruction of French culture and apparently the French brain.

    And your point about Japanese predatory dumping is fair, but that is a subsidized form of dumping, not one that exists through natural business practices. Loss leaders do not become predatory dumping simply because they cross borders. You said yourself that the film dumping from American companies is accidental. THis would imply that’s not predatory. What the Japanese did was both encouraged and financed (through many number of ways) by the Japanese government. Apples and oranges I think.

    And I stilll cannot buy into the idea that decades of experience at doing something leads to continued success at doing the same thing. The Mazdas are in the garage because they met my price/quality/service desires. If Mazda built on decades of unfair competition, what the hell happened to the U.S. automakers? They had the market sewed up, they had the marketing departments who were actually in tune with the market (kind of how Nissan’s US division is run by an American marketing specialist). On top of that they had the nasty tariffs imposed on Japanese goods, not to mention the propaganda put out by the Unions and the various “Buy American” campaigns. Hell, it’s only been 5 or 6 years before I got over my own hangups about buying “foreign” cars.

    All trends are not permanent. And in film, price simply doesn’t matter that much to the consumer and each film is virtual a clean slate. Quality (in the eye of the consumer) is what ulitmately matters. If there is a demand for French film in France, the price ratios will be made to work out in there favor. Trust me, if the market is there, film producers will make the numbers work to meet demand. That’s how business works. Many many companies have learned how to survive and profit in markets of various sizes. It’s not simply a population or demographic game. Quality (in the eyed of consumer, not the local culture ministry) ultimately matters in the end.

    Mark, like I said in one of my earliar posts, I think I understand where you are coming from but I think you are putting a misquided emphasis in it’s importance. As you noted, many American films have been extremely pretentious and self-important too. Absolutely. My entire point is that ultimately there are going to be good films and bad films. If American produce a disproportionate amount of commercially successful films, at some point you have to look at the consumers wants and needs and perhaps address those. Instead, as been France’s bad habit of late, they blame Americans for wanting to turn their kids into zombies. Re-read that BBC article and tell me that’s not what is being said. You point about dumping, whether predatory or accidental is simply not what most of us were bitching about and it’s certainly not what the original article was referring to.

    Enjoyed it.

  • Here’s the plan: first the movies, then the restaurants, then the government. We install Al Gore as Le President pour vie, and Martin Sheen as Vice President pour vie. Maybe we’ll let M.S. use the name Josiah Bartlet, since he’s already used to ruling under that name anyway. Then, we move Alec Baldwin, Babs, Ed Asner, and Bonnie Franklin over there. France is no worse than before, and we’re a lot better. La probleme, elle est solvee!

  • Fun conversation, many thanks to all. Can I voice a couple of thoughts/reactions/whatevers?

    * I know less than zero about dumping, let alone the specific challenges besetting the French film biz. But who cares whether or not France restricts its movie market? Why should it really matter to anyone? It’s their own damn country. If they choose to cut off their cultural air passages, let ’em choke. Their best, or at least most ambitious, talents will make it to Hollywood.

    *Jbelkin makes an excellent point about Hollywood, which is that it hardly pays to think of the Hollywood film biz as American at all. It’s crawling with non-Americans at almost all levels. Where it’s most American is onscreen — the performers, who generally have to be able to “play American.” But techies? Money people? Composers? Cinematographers? Directors? Tons of foreigners. Hollywood is the world — and not just American — center of a certain kind of moviemaking.

    * You’ll forgive a gripe about libertarians and art/entertainment. Isn’t it, ahem, a little over-typical of libertarians (I’m one, mostly) to want to endorse personally what succeeds on the market? Ie., to love and root for the market winners? Which is ok, I guess — but also, why bother? They’ve already won in the market. They don’t need your personal endorsement. There’s a difference between saying, “Sure, I guess it worked for tons of people” and “I loved it,” and I sometimes get the impression that some libertarains are forever doing their best to squish those two statements together.

    Why shouldn’t it be possible to both root for more-open rather than less-open markets, yet still admit to disliking some of what prevails in the market? As an arts fan, I don’t root for open markets because I think “Die Hard 2” is great and deserves to win top honors, and I don’t think “Die Hard 2” is great just because it made a lot of money. (Actually I thought it sucked.) As an arts fan, I root for open markets because open markets make more niche markets possible, and (for better or worse) that’s how my tastes tend to run. If more-open markets also mean that a lot of fantasy blockbusters — which don’t generally interest me — get made, well, I can live with that because (thanks to a peppy, loose market) I can rent what I please (a lot of it pretentious art twaddle) on DVD. There’s almost always a lot to be learned from examining what wins in the marketplace. But cheering more-open markets doesn’t mean I have to love “Lord of the Rings.” Or McDonald’s, for that matter. (They don’t need my help.) Why settle for a dichotomy as simple as “market winners good” and “market losers bad,” especially where something that’s as much a matter of taste as art and entertainment are concerned?

    * It shouldn’t be all that hard either to acknowledge that political/economic systems that we disapprove of still sometimes have their cultural glories. For all the pretentious dreck, the French film tradition is still one of the glories of (forgive the term) world cinema. It’s something for them to be proud of (especially given how few other things they have to be proud of these days). You’d find a lot of makers of successful Hollywood blockbusters agreeing with that statement, by the way, as well as confessing that what inspired them to make movies in the first place were pretentious French art films. Hey, the world — and the movie biz — needs some pretentious art films, and may they be better rather than worse. I don’t approve of stuffing geese, but foie gras tastes pretty good, ya know what I mean? Why not allow for that?

    If anyone wants to give Truffaut a whirl, I suggest the early stuff. He lost his daring and touch pretty young, and made a lot of drivel. Try “Jules and Jim,” “400 Blows,” and “Shoot the Piano Player.” The couple of later films where his talents rallied are (IMHO) “The Wild Child” and “The Story of Adele H.”

    By the way, I liked “Die Hard” (the first one) a lot.

  • I think David Carr hit on a key point: when the Hong Kong film makers started taking market share, what did Hollywood do? Complain about culture, demand subsidies, try to restrict the imports? No, they hired the directors and adopted the style of the Hong Kong film industry. Let me repeat that – Hollywood surrendered culturally. Hollywood didn’t even try to defend their film culture. And watch the reaction to Bollywood. If Indian films do well in America, Hollywood execs will be hiring Indian directors, actors, writers and doing cross distribution deals faster than you can say “residuals”. America is called a “cultural imperialist” but what other nation so rapidly assimilates culture from other countries?

  • rajan

    north america banned all the french movies
    with porn in them! I wish I could watch these movies! But yet it’s legal to show
    people blown up and murdered for the awards!

  • rajan

    north america banned all the french movies
    with porn in them! I wish I could watch these movies! But yet it’s legal to show movies where
    people blown up and murdered and these unrommatic movies get the awards!
    Even two men kissing is banned but people
    being murdered and tortured is okay to watch!
    Sex is pleasure and a part of life!

  • rajan

    north america banned all the french movies
    with porn in them! I wish I could watch these movies! But yet it’s legal to show movies where
    people blown up and murdered and these unrommatic movies get the awards!
    Even two men kissing is banned but people
    being murdered and tortured is okay to watch!
    Sex is pleasure and a part of life!
    I’d rather see all hard core sex then seeing it half way, fake and cut! I want to see that X-rated part!