“Les Rascals”, “Apaches”… how French cinema tries to seduce young viewers

Two movies coming soon Rascals and apachethey are trying to tempt 15-25 year olds who avoid French cinema and prefer American productions.

After months of shortages, French cinema is back on sale. But there are no 15-25-year-olds who prefer blockbusters (Black Panther), scary movies (smile) and Japanese animation (One Piece Red). In order to attract this young audience, which has never been attracted by French cinema, the producers will make two films made for them in early 2023. Rascals (January 11) and apache (February 22).

Directed by Jimmy Laporal-Trésor, Rascals It is a nuanced story of the confrontation between the property gang and the skinheads in 1980s Paris. apacheRomain Quirot’s new film (The Last Journey), a woman infiltrates an ultra-violent gang that reigns terror in Belle Epoque Paris to avenge her brother’s death.

“We cannot leave American superhero movies to the youth and try to have fun in this playground,” warns Romain Quirot. “It is very important for me to touch young people, not to forget them by offering them brave films.” And offering him movies outside of school comedies (Despite being a superhero himself, Segpas), a rare French genre favored by young audiences.

For years, French cinema has neglected young people aged 15-25, often out of fear of taking risks, leaving the field open for Hollywood.

“We have given young people the power of another cinema, which is multi-format, very similar to a huge amusement park and imposes itself on the networks with hype,” concludes the film’s producer, Manuel Chiche. Rascals with his company Jokers.

“Young people aged 15-25 are very captive”

Nicolas Blanc, the film’s producer, admits that attracting 15-25-year-olds to French films is a “real challenge”. Rascals, the latter seem to accept it. “They say French cinema doesn’t appeal to young people, but that’s not true,” insists Jokers marketing director Vincent Courtad. It’s just that we didn’t bring enough films for them.”

Blandine Boullier, director of the Le Rex cinema in Sarlat, confirms: “Over the last two years, we have seen audiences between the ages of 15 and 25 very attached to the cinema.” “They are there, unlike the old people who stay away from the cinemas since we made an offer dedicated to them. The cultural shift has shown us that young people are coming to the cinema.”

Thus, they contributed to the victory of 15-25-year-old youth Poor people (2019), by North Ferry (2021) and more recently november. creation of “young movies” label The promotion of cinephilia by the CNC, as well as the 15-25 label by the Association Française des Cinémas d’Art et d’Essai (AFCAE), should enable more young people to be attracted to cinema.

Rascals So it will be the AFCAE favorite in January. Mathieu Guilloux, AFCAE’s coordinator of young audiences, explains: “The idea is to help cinemas in their viewing activities, to identify films that may interest these audiences. The association works only on artistic and experimental films recommended and recently recommended. Sahin lake Charlotte Le Bon and the Japanese cartoon Inu-oh By Masaaki Yuasa.

“Crazy atmosphere in the room”

The number of these films is small. The fault lies with television in the way French cinema is financed. “Television audiences are getting older,” says Manuel Chiche. “It is difficult to finance films that are not for this audience. This is the problem that CNC has to solve: encourage the channels to appeal to the youth. Today even the platforms are aimed at an older audience.

Valerie Boyer, general manager of France 2 Cinéma, which is involved in the financing of Rascals, assures: “Young audiences have not been treated in recent years, but we are trying to fix that.”

“Now we have to go through our producer friends to have these types of offers.”

Rascals It was envisioned as an intergenerational film for today as it was for the 1980s ex-teens. “It is also and above all made for them”, insists Manuel Chiche. “We want to tell this small story about France that is not in the headlines. It is important for these young people to understand their country.”

The first reactions of the crowd prove him right. Rascals won the Sarlat festival where it was previewed to 580 high school students last month. “There was great imitation in the room,” recalls Blandine Boullier. “They were misinformed about the facts in the film and there was a strong attachment to the subject. There was a crazy atmosphere in the room.”

Fragment from the film
Excerpt from “The Rascals” © Jokers

“You have to try to understand this generation to write stories that touch them,” says Manuel Chiche. “The topic should talk about what worries them today. The current political and social climate is something that worries young people a lot,” adds company director Jimmy Laporal-Trésor. Rascals.

Between “Gangs of New York” and “Paky Blinders”.

It’s also nice to have new arrivals. “The presence of new actors on the screen creates intimacy with young viewers. When the characters are close to our age, the story worries us more,” Jimmy Laporal-Trésor comments. “Young people loved it because it’s a group of friends who don’t let go,” adds Vincent Courtade. “They really identify with it.”

The first audience Rascals were also surprised by the film’s “more rock and roll energy”. Jimmy Laporal-Trésor explains: “When we’re young, we like to go to movies that have a bit of action. We like movies that are a bit more rhythmic.” “The young people felt it,” said Manuel Chiche. Nicolas Blanc adds: “Jimmy uses cinema as it is in the US”.

apache it is also a very rhythmic film, with an anachronistic soundtrack (rap, electro, French pop). “I wanted to make a mural that revolved around the image of Apache freedom and the exuberance of life. [ndlr: ces gangs de voyous parisiens à la Belle Epoque]”, – admits Romain Guirot. “I didn’t want to lock myself in the small prison of French laws. It’s a movie where guys wear Doc Martens and hit bourgeois with golf clubs.”

“If we want to appeal to young people who are fed up with Netflix products, we need to offer them something a little different to excite them and pique their interest,” the director further pleads. “Whether it’s the narrative or the aesthetics, everything fits together to be appreciated by a young audience,” says Antoni Baptista, marketing director of Tandem, the production company. apache.

Movie poster
“Apache” movie poster © Tandem

This is not the first time that French cinema has tried to appeal to the teenage public. Monster movie in 2021 Teddy received significant support from the press above before rapidly disappearing from the bill. “Our financial partners are convinced that we need to expand the spectrum. After that, the problem remains with broadcasting. [les exploitants de salles, NDLR]it doesn’t take too many risks”, laments Nicolas Blanki.

From TikTok to Avatar

Attracting 15- to 25-year-olds to darkrooms remains difficult because “they’re not used to challenging cinema,” the producer continues. Now there is a battle on social networks. Tandem has been feeding with the help of a content creator for several months TikTok account behind the scenesapache. Some videos have been very successful, with almost a million views.

“There are a lot of anecdotes about the making and filming of the film,” Antoni Baptista explains. “When we told them behind the scenes, we realized that the young subscribers were like crazy. As we approach the launch in 2023, we will always relaunch it with the idea of ​​persuading otherwise and not relying on traditional means of communication.

trailer of Rascals will be shown before the eagerly awaited AvatarWaterway Between December 21 and 28 at UGC Cinemas. “It’s the biggest week of the year,” Vincent Courtade said. It will use the opinions of young people who discovered the film in Sarlat. “The reaction was crazy. Some later said it was their favorite movie ever Spider-Man: No Way Home!”

Adopts a similar strategy with Tandem apache. The trailer will be released earlier from February 15 to 21 Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Either during the school holidays or exactly a week before graduation. “I don’t think I’ll communicate any sooner,” says Antoni Baptista. “Given the number of releases, we should be strong when the film hits theaters.”

“We will open a dispute”

An agency specializing in creating trailers for blockbusters and platforms, best known for its work on Netflix series Tea Witcherwatched the trailer forapachean aesthetic that fully utilizes is close Peaky Blinders. “We tried to make it as efficient as possible and above all to respond to the codes that young people are used to today,” said Antoni Baptista.

A working group within AFCAE is planning “tailor-made support work”, explains Mathieu Guilloux: “Every month we will choose a film and find animations to bring it to life more in cinemas”. for Rascalsvideo game animations and meetings are planned with the National Hip Hop Organization, which appears in the historical film’s watermark.

The issue of placement on the street remains. “What good are Morris columns for this young audience? It’s completely useless,” says Nicolas Blanc. “We will give priority to the subway, but everything depends on wet fingers,” he said. Rascals whom apache should be distributed throughout the country. “The idea is exposure Rascals massively and in depth,” declares Manuel Chiche.

The next few years should see a proliferation of such initiatives thanks to a new generation of directors. “We feel that there is a fundamental movement. My instinct tells me that the future of cinema will be built with films like this. Rascalsfilms that free themselves from the usual codes”, assures Manuel Chiche: “Maybe we can remove the plaster or open a crack”.

A way to avoid the planned obsolescence of a certain French cinema. “We’re seeing a bit of a tremor,” confirms Valerie Boyer. “We have just committed to a Simon Buisson film. Drone, aimed at a younger audience. Ladj Ly’s next, Undesirables, also. But it is too early to draw conclusions, they are in a hurry.”

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