The National Cinema Center opposed the screening of The big mop on the beach of this commune of Côtes-d’Armor. The mayor obtained the suspension of the decision from the administrative court of Rennes.
Relief in Saint-Michel-en-Grève. The traditional open-air cinema session, organized every summer on the beach of the Côtes-d’Armor town for a few years and threatened by the CNC, will finally take place. The decision of the National Center for Cinema and the Moving Image, challenged by the municipality, was suspended by the administrative court of Rennes.
Organized every summer since 2019 and free, the outdoor cinema session of Saint-Michel-en-Grève has quickly become a summer ritual for the inhabitants of the town and as well as summer visitors. This year, the municipality has chosen to program The big mop, a great classic of French cinema by Gérard Oury, with Bourvil and Louis de Funès. As required by procedure, Mayor François Ponchon sent a request for authorization to the CNC. The latter was refused on July 11 by the CNC on the grounds that “the planned projection could harm local cinemas, in particular the Le Douron cinema, at an important time to win back their audience”. An argument that the mayor of the Breton town does not understand: “It is clear that there is a drop in cinema attendance, however, it is not one session in the year that will jeopardize their financial situation, especially since they have received state aid to partially compensate for the losses they have observed.
The CNC develops its argument against Saint-Michel-en-Grève: “In this context marked by cinema attendance much lower than its average level, observed before the pandemic crisis, the assessment of the local situation of local exploitation must take into account the long-term consequences of the screenings envisaged, on the sustainability of local cinemas, both from the point of view of their economic balance and the preservation of their link with the public.
A suspension pending a judgment on the merits
For its part, the Douron cinema, in Plestin-les-Grèves assures anyone who might doubt that it is in no way responsible for the CNC’s decision but confirms that the economic situation of the establishment has been particularly difficult since the beginning of 2022 (-30% attendance for the first six months of the year compared to 2019). Jackie Ravoux, treasurer of the Cultural Cinematographic Association of Plestin which operates the Douron cinema, indicates that the cinema session organized in Saint-Michel is therefore not their concern but explains that they are trying today to “limit breakage”.
After filing a gracious appeal, in vain, to contest this decision on July 15, the municipal council of Saint-Michel-en-Grève met and decided to seize the administrative court of Rennes, with a summary procedure. This Wednesday, July 27, the court rendered its decision and therefore suspended the decision of the CNC, then authorizing the session of July 30, pending a judgment on the merits in a few months. Thursday, July 28, Mayor François Ponchon reacted to this verdict: “I am satisfied with the decision to suspend but for all that I regret having been forced to go through a court decision because we could have done something together with the Douron in a very constructive way which would certainly have contributed to bringing back people in movie theaters.”