The French film industry's current financial crisis and its impact on creation: the example of Jacques Doillon's Raja (2003)

Authors: Bray, Maryse1; Calatayud, Agns2

Source: Studies in European Cinema, Volume 2, Number 3, December 2005 , pp. 199-212(14)

Publisher: Intellect

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Although Jacques Doillon is amongst the major film-makers in France, his recent project found no financing in spite of its relative cheapness. According to Doillon, this was because his scenario did not fit within the light-entertainment focus of financiers. Indeed, funding films that do not conform to a Hollywood model has become a particularly fraught issue in France. Frustrated in his original ambition, Doillon then embarked on the filming of Raja in Marrakech (Morocco). This film depicts the unsuccessful love story between a blas, middle-aged Frenchman (Pascal Greggory) and Raja, one of his maids played by the newcomer Najat Benssallem. One of the first temptations is to read the film as a parable for the power relationship between rich industrialized countries in the North and emerging nations in the South. Our article however proposes a different interpretation of the narrative: in our view, the film can also be seen as an allegory for the conflict-ridden relationship between film-makers and their financiers in a world where return upon investment is the paramount criterion for the selection of scenarios.

Keywords: French cinema; Jacques Doillon; film financing

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: University of Westminster. 2: Birkbeck College.

Publication date: December 1, 2005

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  • Studies in European Cinema provides an outlet for research into any aspect of European cinema and is unique in its interdisciplinary nature, celebrating the rich and diverse cultural heritage across the continent. The journal is distinctive in bringing together a range of European cinemas in one volume and in its positioning of the discussions within a range of contexts - the cultural, historical, textual, and many others.
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