Cinema in the countryside, “place of life” and “cultural support”

While the association Ciném’Aude, which operates a film distribution network throughout the territory, is still suffering from the impact of Covid on its finances, Gruissan’s culture spokesman and the mayor of Ferral-lès-Corbières are reminiscing about the role of the cinema in outlying municipalities. From these projections there is a lot of scale.

“Chance.” The deputy mayor of Gruissan in charge of culture, Marie-Loup Lajus, measures the opportunity, which is the fact that the municipality has a cinema. “This is a real cultural support that we enjoy as soon as the event takes place.she said. Whatever the event, we always try to include a film show because this art is also a vehicle for conveying messages.”. The elected official insists on the importance of the partnership with Ciném’Aude: “The association is showing great affinity in the choice of feature films, adapting to our pace; in the summer, with the increase in the population of the resort, it plans more screenings than in the winter, which allows other associations to appropriate the premises.”.

So this place becomes something more than just a place of rest, like any other, a platform for social connections and even public education. “Some people don’t want to take a car to go see a film in Narbonne, but they’ll be happy to go to a screening in the countryside with friends. The site also sometimes allows local young people to project their achievements, who then experience from the inside what cinema really is. In essence, this room is a place of life, animated by the people themselves, who capture the films they want to see. Even if we broadcast well, of course, also large American productions in order to satisfy all viewers, we are not at all in the logic of consumer cinema!”

1300 inhabitants… and 1500 visits per year

A little further inland, Gerard Barthez is of the same opinion. And for good reason: the mayor of Ferral-le-Corbière has been the director of Ciném’Aude for more than 30 years. He remembers the opening of a cinema in his city as if it were yesterday. “It was August 3, 1985, in the presence of Philippe Noiret.He says. This room also exemplifies a long-term policy to ensure that people in the countryside also have access to activities, to moments of fun.. The city councilor also emphasizes that the very concept of village cinema has evolved significantly. “This has nothing to do with the back room of the cafe where we installed the screen and the projector! Our hall has nothing to envy the hall of a large city cinema! sound, and when the demand came, we even equipped it with active 3D!”

This makes it possible to see in optimal conditions, in Ferrals, “films in the national box office”. But also to offer good equipment for operations such as “school and cinema”, or for associations such as the film club built around this room. “He manages to gather views of 30-40 people in the evenings: for a village of 1300 inhabitants, this is not so bad!” A village that also registers at least 1,500 visits in a typical year… “whereas there is only one show every two weeks or every week during the holidays”. The performance is wonderful and fills Gerard Barez with confidence.


“Yes, we are coming out of a bad period for film attendance in the broadest sense. It will not be easy to get people to go back to cinemas… but I, for one, prefer ten citizens to gather around a movie rather than these ten people who watch TV at home.” , each in his own corner! Marie-Loup Lajus from Gruissan also believes that the features of eccentric cinema will play into her hands. “Filmophiles are very eager to reconnect with these meetings and exchange moments, people really need it.”. And welcome the role of Ciném’Aude’s newly hired cultural mediator (read below). “He has already performed several times in our city, in particular, leading master classes for children during the Young Audience Festival. They liked it! He also names his favorite movie every month: it is for such entertainment that the audience will return.. An extra soul that, like some “art-house” films, doesn’t necessarily end up in the multiplex. And what gives all its color to the 7th Art, seen from the territories.

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