Interview with Julien Planté, artistic director of French film channel Cinémoi


I personally think that the French make some of the best films in the world, they are often sophisticated, nuanced, intelligent and complex, embodying the great artistic visions of directors like Godard, Truffaut, Audiard, Denis, Chabrol, Moll, I could go on. So it was great to meet a man who knows so much about them, having also worked as programmer at the French cinema Cine Lumiere. I met him at a suitably French bistro in Soho to discuss the channel and the state of French cinema amongst other things.

What do you love most about French film?

It’s a tricky question, but I think there is this particularity in French film that the French respect the auteur and before that there is a long history of French cinema. And what is great is that there is an ongoing thing since the first creation of the cinema itself with the Lumière brothers, that’s very particular. And there is the history of cinema itself with the Lumière brothers, that’s very particular. And there is Pathé production before the war  and there is all these great traditions of films. But I think generally I like this particularity in French cinema of giving the final cut to the directors, I think it’s very rare.

Do you think there is a lot more creative freedom in France?

Yeah, I mean I don’t think you should generalise and say that, because you know there is 250 films produced in France every year. But it is a particularity that is very rich and that ‘s why I like French cinema and that’s what I want to show as well on the channel, that French cinema is not a genre in itself , so of course there is commercial films like anywhere. But what I like is the auteur and my favourite directors, most of them are French it’s true. I love Claire Denis, [Arnaud] Desplechin, Agnes Varda, I really love them because they have real vision and because I think their producer respects their views and vision. And like is often the case for a lot of French actors they’ve got the final cut.  It’s what I read David Lynch as well said about the French , they’ve got the final cut. That’s why Lynch himself is produced by the French, by Studio Canal.

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