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Fever among the 20 new releases hitting screens in France

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- It’s the banality of evil for the feature debut by Raphaël Neal, a shooting star in a deadly releases log jam

Fever among the 20 new releases hitting screens in France
Fever by Raphaël Neal

The equation from here on in is a complex one: distributors want to make the most of the busiest periods in terms of attendance levels to launch their films, hoping to pull in the maximum number of viewers possible. Furthermore, the large groups of exhibitors have a widely shared belief in the benefits of an economy with a plentiful supply. And all of this means that even more new releases will be jostling for space on the cinema listings – just like today, when there are 20 of them!

On one hand, who can complain about such a wide variety of titles? After all, it allows France to show off works from all over the world, spanning a huge variety of genres. Nevertheless, there is a trend towards a growing disparity between a small minority of feature films that do manage to find their audience (hogging all the media attention and as many screens as possible) and an overwhelming majority that have to endure crushing failures (with a tiny number of release prints or being nudged off the cinema listings at lightning speed). This “brutal” environment also sees certain productions being kept alive “artificially” for weeks at a time by being shown on a high number of screens that is out of all proportion compared to their actual drawing power (with distributors and exhibitors blaming each other for the situation), thus having even more of an impact on the visibility of those works that are not so well off in terms of the marketing behind them, despite the “heroic” work undertaken by certain independent distributors. To sum up the situation, a higher level of (apparent) variety in theatres gradually forces true diversity into the corners of the boxing ring, not to mention onto the ropes. And all of this obviously has repercussions on film production because movie funding is still very much linked to theatrical exhibition, given that legal consumption via VoD is still too marginal to ensure the funds needed to allow it to completely cut loose. All these thorny issues should provide food for thought for the public authorities, as the codes of conduct for distribution and programming scarcely seem able to halt a movement that involves everyone taking shelter behind the irrefutable argument that the viewer will be able to see what he or she wants.

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This huge disparity is clearly visible today with Fever by Raphaël Neal, a philosophical thriller revolving around the banality of evil described by Hannah Arendt. Having been excluded from the traditional funding circuit, this original feature debut, distributed in five theatres by its producer, Strutt Films (a company set up by the filmmaker himself), only saw the light of day thanks to the good will of its actors and other members of the team (including singer Camille, who composed the soundtrack), who contributed their own wages to help finance it. “I can’t describe this production method as a model,” stresses the director. “But it must be noted that the gap between major, mainstream productions and arthouse films is getting bigger, with the latter finding it harder and harder to survive. So today, we have to find new ways of funding these films that are considered to be 'difficult' (those that the 'classic' box offices no longer dare to support). And new ways of producing as well. Making movies in a resourceful manner forces people to economise and isn’t necessarily detrimental to creativity or quality. But even without falling into these extremes, and because I am fully behind the idea that every person who works on a film must be paid for it, of course, it seems to me that the budgets can be cut without it being terribly detrimental to the team and to the project. This decrease in the budgets will create new ways of making films - crowdfunding being one method, but not the only one. There will always be resourceful and motivated characters out there who won’t see a lack of resources as an insurmountable obstacle...”

Some of the other films hitting screens today are the excellent Fatima [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Philippe Faucon
film profile
]
by Philippe Faucon (read the interviewPyramide in 103 theatres), L'étudiante et monsieur Henri [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
by Ivan Calbérac (StudioCanal in 322 cinemas), Macadam Stories [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
by Samuel Benchetrit (Paradis Films across 75 screens), Orage [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
by Fabrice Camoin (read the article - Rezo Films in 19 theatres), Blood of My Blood [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Marco Bellocchio
film profile
]
by Italy’s Marco Bellocchio (unveiled in competition at the Venice Film Festival – read the interviewBellissima Films in 32 cinemas), All Yours [+see also:
film review
trailer
making of
interview: David Lambert
film profile
]
by Belgian director David Lambert (watch the interviewOutplay across six screens) and Catch Me Daddy [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Daniel Wolfe
film profile
]
by British filmmaker Daniel Wolfe (watch the interviewBodega Films in nine theatres).

(Translated from French)

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