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PRODUCTION France

Act 1 to Philibert

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The French courts have rejected the legal action by the teacher Georges Lopez, star of Nicolas Philibert’s film, To Be and To Have. The teacher had taken the director to court claiming €61,200 from the production company (Les Films du Losange) as Lopez claimed that his promotional role for the film was tantamount to a work contract. But the court has rejected his request, stating that “the teacher, as part of his commitment, trains his students and there was no evidence of any link of dependence that would have led to the existence of a work contract”. In addition, according to Nicolas Philibert’s lawyer, the production offered the teacher €37,500 in compensation for the promotion, which he refused.

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So the first victory goes to the producers and the director, who were supported by the majority of French documentary makers, who were concerned about the legal action given the exceptional financial and public success of a cinematographic work like To Be and To Have. But this isn’t the end of the matter, as the teacher has begun a further legal action for “falsification” and “violation of the rights of the image”, and is claiming €250,000. The judgement on this case is due in spring, 2004.

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(Translated from French)

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