Why French Cinema is the Best of the Best

All over the world, going to the movies is considered one of the most popular pastimes. We head over to the local cinema with our friends on a casual Friday night, indulge in some popcorn, then sit back and relax while we’re taken on another great adventure.

The world of cinema is unquestionably a glamorous one. From the anticipation of the next greatest blockbuster, to red carpets at world premieres, and awaiting the box office results, there is always something to look forward to. The film industry is undoubtedly one of the greatest industries in the world, and here’s why… 

In 2014, the film industry was estimated to be worth $90 billion US dollars. That’s over three times larger than the music industry, which came in at only $28 billion US dollars the same year. And in 2015, global ticket sales hit an all-time high of $38.6 billion US dollars – that’s massive!

It’s obvious that the film industry has made its impact on our world, but where did it all start? You guessed it, right here in France, the true birthplace of film.

The Lumière brothers from Lyon, Auguste and Louis, started it all by creating a film projector called the Cinématographe. With this new invention, they made the first ever motion picture which was only 46 seconds long, La Sortie des ouvriers de l’usine Lumière (Workers leaving the Lumière Factory). Thanks to them, the term “cinema” was born.

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Georges Méliès, a well-known illusionist from Paris, happened to be in the audience of the Lumière brothers’ presentation of the Cinématographe, which easily captivated him. Shortly after, he recreated his own camera and continued to make an astounding 500 films in his career, discovering how film could distort the reality of everyday life. You may even recognize one of these films from 1902, Le Voyage dans la Lune (A Trip to the Moon.) Not long after, motion pictures became the new norm.

Fast forward a few decades and we’ve arrived at the most prestigious film festival in the world, the Cannes Festival. From glamour, red carpets, and iconic stars, Cannes has it all. For the past 70 years, Cannes has taken the film world by storm for about two weeks every spring, premiering the world’s most anticipated films in the presence of the industry’s elite.

While making it big at Cannes doesn’t guarantee success, it’s definitely a good push in the right direction. Quentin Tarantino launched his career at Cannes, while Michel Hazanavicious’ The Artist went on to win the Oscar for best picture after Jean Dujardin picked up the Best Actor award at Cannes in 2011.

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Now this all sounds impressive, but exactly how passionate are the French when it comes to the cinema?

Believe it or not, France has the highest level of cinema attendance in all of Europe. In 2016, 213 million people went to the movies in France – that’s over three times the total population of the country and the second-best result in 50 years! Seventy-five million of those admissions were for French films too! You could unmistakably say film is a pretty big industry here in France.

So, next time you’re in France, don’t forget to experience the country’s renowned cinema culture. Stop by one of the countless independent cinemas, have some popcorn, and immerse yourself in a truly French pastime. See you there!

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