|by Reg Diplock - The People's Critic
PART 4 - "THE FRENCH" - Ever notice how people in our film industry crap on about how great the French are? "The French always give their films adequate funding", "the French like their academics", "the French don't get hung up on adultery in their marriages, honey". This admiration for our garlic-smelling, Nazi-collaborating, bomb-testing "friends" includes matters of lifestyle (fondness for latte, berets and three-day growth), as well as the professional arena (meetings in cafes, auteurs, zoom lenses). But most of all there's Cannes. Ah, Cannes, don't get me started on Cannes!
Every year, scores of our filmmakers make the Great Gallic Trek in search of glory. You see, even though the only competition ordinary Aussie battlers who foot the bill for our industry really care about is the Oscars, it seems to be too hard for our poor baby filmmakers to win one of those. So they make Cannes out to be the bigger deal instead. It's easier to win something at Cannes, be it a palm, or a leaf, or just getting selected in The Director's Fortnight or Un Certain Something-or-Other which is apparently an honour in itself (yeah, right). Cannes is the home of personal, esoteric cinema that no one really wants to watch, which makes it perfect for Australian filmmakers. The result is taxpayers having to fork out funds for endless public servant junkets to the Riviera. Funds which could otherwise go on kidneys for orphans or state-of-the-art euthanasia machines. Such is the influence of the French.
Don't kid yourselves that the Johnny Halliday-listening, calling-every-second-city-"Saint"-something, French are our friends. They weren't our friends in Syria in World War II, where 1,600 diggers were killed or wounded fighting the Vichy. They weren't our friends in the '50s, when Chips Rafferty's film company (the only Aussie one around at the time) went bust after three co-productions with the French. And they certainly weren't our friends when they gave us The Fifth Element.
Look, these coral-destroying snail-eaters can never do anything right. They name all their provinces after food, feed alcohol to children, and had lousy colonies (Chad, anyone?). They can't even decide how to govern themselves. I mean, what number republic are they up to now? Five? They're worse than Microsoft!
And they can't play rugby to save their lives. Sure, the French like Australian films but they also like Jerry Lewis. And, yeah, I know Frog money helped produce The Piano and Green Card, but how "Australian" were they? Let's face it, the only decent French contribution to Aussie cinema has been that sheila in the wartime classic 40,000 Horsemen, which was their only decent contribution to the war at all, come to think of it.
Aussie filmmakers need to stop holding up the rabid-dog-owning, Quebec-separatist-inspiring Frogs as an example and concentrate on making an industry that stands on its own two feet. Cultural cringe in this country doesn't just involve Yanks or Poms, you know. It includes the French, too (Cinema "Papers", anyone?). Well, Sunday Too Far Away wasn't French. Neither was Phar Lap. Maybe we should remember which country won all of its battles in Vietnam and believe a little more in ourselves.
Then maybe we'll have a film industry to be proud of again! Reg Diplock - The People's Critic
link directly to this feature at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/feature.php?feature=167
originally posted: 02/20/00 23:12:14