Sunday 18 March 2018

Aoife Drew: If it's Hollywood versus France, vive la difference

The 'cultural exception' is essential to the artistic integrity of French film-makers.

Catherine deneuve in Belle de jour
Catherine deneuve in Belle de jour
Aoife Drew

Aoife Drew

WHAT'S the surest way to rile a Frenchman? Easy, just ask President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, who did a pretty good job of annoying Francois Hollande (oh, and the entire nation) at last week's G8 summit. Tell them they are "cheese-eating surrender monkeys"? Say their wine isn't all that? Nah, just threaten you are going to hit them where it hurts: their movies.

Of course, there was a lot of vital information coming out of the G8 summit that merited very serious press attention. The Obama girls being bored (yawning during a visit to Trinity College? Shock! Looking glum in Glendalough? Horror!); Enda Kenny "forgetting" to wear yellow trousers to avoid his predecessor Bertie Ahern's sartorial mistakes; or Angela who fascinatingly became lady of the Lough Erne lake, as the BBC reported.

Yet despite all these riveting moments which naturally demand world awareness, there was only one thing that the French press, including Le Monde, Le Figaro, Paris Match et al focused on. And that was Mr Barroso's two-finger salute to the "cultural exception" – France's safeguard against the invasion of all things American.

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