The cultural radiation of the French cinema in the United States
The cultural influence of French cinema in the United States is undeniable. We find French influences in the works of many filmmakers. One such work is Patrick Bloche’s "The desire of France."
In this film he promotes French culture. France has indeed a special place in the United States. For example, French is the first foreign language, there are restaurants and cafes called "French" that attract most people and this promotes a positive image of France. It also denotes the quasi-romantic relationship that can link a portion of U.S. population to France and its culture.
The city of Boston, (the largest city in Massachusetts) is an example of the locals’ enthusiasm for the French cultural heritage. Boston’s public library is an exact replica of the Sainte-Genevieve institution in Paris. The Hancock Tower, designed by Mr. Pei is a replica of the glass pyramid of the Louvre museum. The city also celebrates July 14 which is "Bastille Day" (France's equivalent to an independence day) .
The enthusiasm of the Americans for France could be a result of the French cultural network established in the United States. This network is also useful to export cultural products, especially French films. Generally, French films that are international hits "work" in the United States. It is rare that a film that is not successful in other countries works in the United States.
So each year, French films conquer a little more space in the American film industry. This success of French films indicates the positive image Americans have of France. The films that appeal to the Americans are often those that portray romantic ideas of France. One such popular film was Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain. Directors, Luc Besson and Jean-Jacques Annaud have been popular with the American public for some time now.
The role of Film festivals
Film festivals that feature French films in the U.S. are numerous and the number is continuing to grow steadily. These festivals have a strong cultural impact on both the common public and the critics. These festivals also play a huge role in getting films recognized by the judges of film academies. This leads to many films, that would otherwise not be recognized, to receiving awards.
The cultural network in the United States works on a set of "seasons" that are devoted to a film, a director or an actor. However, these remain difficult to arrange and are actually quite low profile.
One example is the recent Jacques Rivette festival held in the United States in 2006. In New York, the 31 screenings were attended by 2044 spectators. The partial or complete “retrospective screening” of films by Jacques Rivette was then on tour in the most important cultural institutions of the United States. Even if Jacques Rivette was unable to attend the event, the screening of his work was a critical and public success.
Overseas film festivals honor French films regularly. These festivals are set up on an initiative of the French cultural network or uniFrance but it is more driven by local volunteers. Some are on a very small local scale, but nevertheless allows French cinema to come in contact with audiences that French cinema would otherwise be unable to reach.
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