The booming classic film market

The year 2020, so special and far from having exhausted its share of surprises, will remain as that of a rebound in classic, so-called heritage films. Confinement requires, many regulars in dark rooms have released their DVDs or subscribed to platforms which continue to multiply.

Each year, the Lyon Lumière Festival also organizes the one and only world market for classic films. The 8th edition of the MIFC confirmed this appetite for the rediscovery of the heritage of the 7th art, either in dematerialized form (streaming, on-demand service), or in physical form (DVD and Blu-Ray), or through distribution. on television channels, public or by subscription.

The trend is even benefiting movie theaters. In this period of state of emergency, deprived of American locomotives, arthouse cinema and in particular heritage hold up better than others in theaters.

Real dynamic

Year after year, the MIFC records an increasing number of participants, 400 in 2020, who are now seeking to stand up to influence the general activity of the cinema and to get out of the logic of competition that seemed to animate them until then. ” That the MIFC was able to keep itself, at times at a distance, via Zoom for certain debates, is in itself a victory. », Welcomes Gérald Duchaussoy, responsible for its coordination and programming.

About fifteen conferences were held, a DVD fair and many professional exchanges punctuated this highly anticipated meeting. ” It is not a market for archivists or curators, insists Juliette Rajon, its director, but the gathering of actors in this sector who bring heritage films back to life, reach out to audiences, and canvass all distribution channels. It is also a platform for sending messages to the film industry, to public authorities and to spectators. The MIFC is the only place to bring them together to share experiences and think about the future.

Another element of our cultural exception, the French market supports a real dynamic of classic films, supported by the CNC (National Center of Cinema) which allocates substantial subsidies to this sector. From 2012 to 2017, thanks to its action, 1,200 heritage films were restored.

France Télévisions in the sights of the sector

With the notable and hailed exception of Arte, the same is not true, alas, with mainstream television channels. Pointed at, France Télévisions which, during the two months of confinement, exhausted its catalog of films by De Funès and Bourvil, believing that the history of cinema boiled down to these two stars. Hence the anger of professionals who signed a scathing open letter against the audiovisual group to demand diversity.

This same group, caught in default, which has moved away from its mission of transmission in favor of its own vision, narrow, cramped, of entertainment, has just announced that it will broadcast a film every night during the cover period. -fire. Will the lessons of spring be learned or should we resign ourselves to the lack of daring and originality? As for private channels, there is nothing to expect …

In search of the 15-30 year old generation

The same is true of heritage cinema as with the other. The time has come to accompany the films, to contextualize them, to show them with encounters, explanations, animations, in the way in which the ambitious DVD and Blu-Ray boxes today are supplemented by supplements (the aptly named “bonus”) which delight moviegoers looking for information.

This effort also reflects a high level of requirement in the restoration and transmission of these treasures. », Emphasizes Gérald Duchaussoy. Likewise, working locally, as close as possible to different audiences, pays off. ” It requires considerable energy, recognizes Juliette Rajon, and asks to roll up their sleeves.

One of the challenges is to find the generation of 15-30 year olds who desert dark rooms, rush to video games and unfortunately seem to be turning away from the history of the 7th art.


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