Last semester, I took a survey course on the rules governing the EU common market and the core EU freedoms (i.e., freedom to provide services, free movement of goods, freedom of establishment).
So why am I mentioning it? In the class, we read a decision from the European Court of Justice about selling DVDs (released in another EU Member State) in France before they were officially released in France. France is unique in the EU in that it has one of the longest (if not the longest) delays between when a movie first comes out in theaters and when it may be released on DVD. If I remember correctly, it’s one year.
Madagascar 3, then, will come out in Germany months before it comes out in France.
Trying to rectify this issue, foreign distributors (all the while crying “free movement of goods in the EU!”) wanted to be able to distribute DVDs already release in other parts of the EU in France, and claimed that France’s unusually long delay was a barrier to the free movement of DVDs within the EU. The European Court of Justice agreed that there was a barrier, but sided with France’s claims that the delay protected art and culture and French cinema, entertaining evenings with friends, etc. My professor noted that it really protects the movie theater industry (like a back door subsidy) more than it protects film as an art form, but hey.
Relevance to today, you ask? Well, the French National Cinéma Festival is in full swing this week (until Wednesday, at least) and I am taking advantage of it. Essentially, when you buy a full price ticket (or student price ticket for me), you get a cute little bracelet. Then for every showing thereafter, when you show your bracelet, the ticket is only € 2.50! This means that I went to see What to Expect When You’re Expecting on Sunday, and Madagascar 3 on Monday, and tonight I’m going to a movie, and Wednesday I’m going to a movie…you get the point.
On a side note, I adored Madagascar 3. I will even admit to quietly clapping my hands (and grinning like a fool) when things were working out well for Alex the Lion and his crew of lovable zoo escapees. My personal favorite character, I must admit, was the Italian sea lion Stefano. He's quite cute, although admittedly only of slightly below-average intelligence. The French crowd laughed at the jokes about France, and I had a BIG chuckle when they made fun of French labor law, saying that the monkeys (who work for the clever penguins) now only need to work 2 weeks out of the year. I have had to do a little French employment law during my internship, and although the French definitely work more than 2 weeks a year, it's still definitely a different legal landscape than the US!
What to Expect When You're Expecting was fluffy and I laughed, which is what I was looking for on the rainy, dismal afternoon that was last Sunday. I cracked up at the end because I noticed that the group of spectators in front of me was composed of 4 boys in their late teens -- no girls in sight. Not exactly the demographic What to Expect was expecting.
I'll let you know how my next two movies go. :)