In rather surprising turn of events French film producers have lost their exhibition license for the film LA VIE D’ADELE this week. It’s surprising because this is France we’re talking about, not Dark Ages Saudi Arabia. Granted, the film’s exhibition cycle is long over so who cares? But the fact of a Parisian judge striking at the heart of both cinema’s cultural preeminence in France, and freedom of expression, is jarring.
For now it is illegal for any movie theaters in France to show this film. LA VIE, a film which features frank depictions of saphic loving’ and earned the Palme D’Or in 2013 (in my decade in Cannes, this is one of the rare films that hands down deserved the top prize) is at the center of a legal battle mounted by a conservative Christian NGO called Association Promouvoir. Its president, André Bonnet, has been heard commenting on one of France’s talk shows that ‘there is a statistical correlation between homosexuality and pedophilia.’
The film, which came out in theaters some time ago already, was rated at the time so as to keep those moviegoers under twelve out of the room. Bonnet’s organization filed an injunction in court and the court sided with him, temporarily barring any further showing of the film, over a year after its exhibition cycle. A strange turn of events but there it is.