Pascale Ferran’s Lady Chatterley comes to Bradford this month — trailing glory, having won a number of the French film oscars, Cesars, including Best Film (with stiff competition from Indigenes/Days of Glory. An interesting article appeared in The Independent in relation to it ‘The French Connection‘ (Geoffrey McNab). It discussed how the French film industry was doing a better job of revering our living ‘auteur’ directors than we do, how they were doing a better job of trawling well-known and obscure literary classics (Elizabeth Taylor’s Angel) to produce successful films. Do we agree? It seems to peddle a number of well-established stereotypes, although there is no denying that the French culture industry seems enviable in the way it cherishes a sense of identity and artistry. But are we really that bad by comparison?

I start to admit that maybe our nearest cultural cousins have the edge with the Cahiers du cinéma manifesto outlining 12 objectives for cinema in France. Maybe a little nervous about where Sarkozy is going, it looks to outline objectives for preserving and supporting the operations of the French film industry, stating films are important as ‘shaping our views of ourselves and of others’. Amen to that.
Ferran’s use of her winning speech to plea for better conditions and commitment to the French film industry – worried about a growing gap between the financing of “rich” (commercial) films and “poor” (art) films as a result of a system “that betrays the heritage of the greatest French filmmakers”. French filmmakers seems to acknowledge their debt to history and to cherish French culture in a enviably integrated approach — or is this sense of history a handicap, rather than an advantage?