French film and TV trade Le Film Français has posted a public apology after the cover photo for its latest weekly publication featuring seven men prompted anger from top female cinema professionals in France, including Venice Golden Lion winner Audrey Diwan and actress Alexandra Lamy.
Alluding to the annual conference of France’s National Federation of French Cinemas (FNCF) in Deauville this week, the cover photo for the September 30 issue features Pathé President Jérome Seydoux, surrounded by Pio Marmaï, Guillaume Canet, Vincent Cassel, François Civil, Pierre Niney and Danny Boon under the headline of “Objective: Reconquest”.
‘Le Film Français’ is a must-read for the French film industry so it was not long before the cover started prompting reactions from top female film professionals in the sector as it landed in their mailboxes on Friday morning.
Director and screenwriter Diwan, who won Venice’s top prize last year for abortion drama Happening, was one of the first to react in a tweet, asking ironically: “If we’re bothering, you just let us know.”
French studies academic Mame-Fatou Niang, who divides her time between Louisiana State University in the U.S. and Lyon University in France, also joined the fray, suggesting that the big names to watch out for in the coming months were rather Alice Diop, Mia Hansen-Løve, Lea Domenach, Cristèle Alves, Emilie Frèche, Noémie Lvovsky, Kayije Kagame and Guslagie Malanda.
There was a raft of comments from a host of other cinema professionals, politicians and gender equality and diversity activists.
In a statement on its website, the magazine wrote:
“Following the reactions to the issue that appeared today, ‘Le Film Francais’ wants to speak.
The cover of the Le Film Francais has sparked numerous reactions, which we understand. The choice of the photo and the terminology were both unfortunate and regrettable.
It was the choice of the editorial team and not that of the people in the image, and does not reflect the beliefs of the team, or the editorial line of Le Film Français.”
The magazine explained that the choice of subjects on the cover had been inspired by a desire to highlight some of the major French films slated for release in 2023 that had been presented on the distributors’ day of the FNCF conference.
“We involuntarily conveyed this with an image not representative of French cinema, the artists or Pathé. We are sorry about this. This shows how vigilant we need to be at every moment to ensure success in the battle for parity,” the magazine concluded in its statement.