A particularly moved and very humble Ken Loach on Saturday night received the Prix Lumière from “The King” Eric Cantona, as part of the Grand Lyon Film Festival held from October 15 to 21. It was a nod to the British director’s Looking for Eric (starring Eric Cantona), a film released in 2009 and screened at the beginning of the ceremony to about 3,000 people, including special guests like directors Jerry Schatzberg, Marjane Satrapi, and the Dardenne brothers, French actors Julie Gayet and Hippolyte Girardot, as well as Ken Loach’s producer Rebecca O’Brien and his screenwriter Paul Laverty, among many others.
After Clint Eastwood, Milos Forman, and Gérard Depardieu receiving the award in previous years, Thierry Frémaux, who hosted the ceremony, stressed the importance of the Lumière Institute, of which he is director general, this year rewarding a European filmmaker.
Despite gladly saying, "We are all Europeans," the 2006 winner of the Palme d’Or however remains attached to his convictions and is rather critical of Brussels’ current policies: "The idea of a European Union led by a liberal agenda is not what we want," he said, thus echoing his films that side with the working class, peoples who have been oppressed and hurt by the ravages of neo-liberalism.
When Cineuropa asked him about the situation of the current European industry, Loach did not hesitate to cite France as an example: “It’s a great question. For us in England, the film subsidy system that exists in France is very important.” On the night before the award ceremony, he had however declared that he was “worried about the French film sector”, as the European Commission had threatened this unique system of redistributing tax paid by the entire film industry up to the cinema-goer’s ticket.
"For politicians in Europe, it’s a way of interfering with the market, which they hate, or at least some of them do. But if there were no system like this, the market could not satisfy demand. I therefore think that we need another kind of Europe, based on promoting and planning what we need for culture." This is why the filmmaker clearly calls for "resisting" to save the French film sector in particular, and the European film sector in general.
Translated from French
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