Problem of the day: French films can’t get rid of the habit
FROM BRIGITTE Bardot to Serge Gainsbourg, some of France’s most iconic stars were rarely seen without their cigarettes. But new research shows that films nationwide simply can’t shake the habit.
How? ‘Or’ What?
A new survey, conducted Monday on the occasion of World Tobacco Day, reveals that French cinema is still addicted to cigarettes, with more than 90% of films made from 2015 to 2019 featuring either a smoking character, the presence of cigarettes or ashtrays, or a character talking about smoking.
So this is a big advertisement for tobacco?
According to the French League against Cancer – which commissioned the Ipsos research – this equates to 2.6 minutes of screen time on average per movie, giving tobacco exposure equivalent to six commercials. A spokesperson said: “Tobacco is almost ubiquitous in French films. Between 2015 and 2019, 90.7% of films included at least one tobacco-related event, object or line. ”
Is it very French?
It cannot be denied that the history of French cinema is littered with cigarettes and is part of an era when smoking was glamorous on screen, with icons such as Brigitte Bardot, Serge Gainsbourg, Catherine Deneuve and Gérard Depardieu among those. that lit up. French actor Jean-Paul Belmondo spent much of a memorable film – the 1960 offering “À Bout du Souffle,” blowing on a Gauloise – which is one of France’s most iconic cigarettes. .
Of course, aren’t these just French films?
Smoking is woven into cinematic history, with iconic scenes from movies ranging from Pulp Fiction to Basic Instinct. The first time we met 007 in Dr No, Sean Connery uttered his iconic line, “Bond, James Bond” while lighting up, with cigarettes being part of the characters’ journeys in films such as The Graduate and Grease, for demonstrate the transformation of Dustin Ben from Hoffman and Sandy from Olivia Newton-John respectively.
The American icon was rarely seen without a cigarette, and onscreen smoking was part of the package in films such as Rebel Without a Cause, while Audrey Hepburn’s cigarette was a prop in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Smoking is on the rise in France?
The investigation into the films came just days after the French health authority, Sante Public, announced that 2020 marked the end of a downward trend in smoking for years in the country. The organization blamed a “context of social crisis” and the influence of Covid-19, with more low-income people smoking than in 2019 and fewer smokers trying to quit. They specifically found that among current smokers, 26.7% reported an increase in their tobacco use.
Are anti-tobacco activists concerned?
League President Axel Kahan said: “The League strongly denounces the glamor of smoking in French films over the past 15 years” and criticized “campaigns targeting young people, as aggressive as they are insidious.”
Past efforts to encourage French directors to give up this habit on screen have sparked complaints from the art establishment, with some questioning whether foreign films would also be subject to a ban – including James Bond. French philosopher and commentator Raphaël Enthoven said in 2017 that it was “censorship under the pretext of public health”, adding: “Injecting morality into the” seventh art ” [cinema] it’s like pouring cola into a Château Lafite ”, one of the most prestigious wines in France.