French film industry reels as new labour laws squeeze budgets

Directors sound alarm over collective agreement for crew that has plunged financially fragile auteur cinema into turmoil

French auteur cinema has been plunged into turmoil over a new collective labour agreement for the film industry. The heated debate is destroying the ties that have held together a sector that, while fragile, was always united in its desire to make films, come what may. Now grips, electricians, dressers, assistant directors, producers and cameramen alike are split into pro and anti camps, the dominant attitude being "tell me if you're for or against the agreement, and I'll tell you if I'll speak to you or insult you".

The collective labour agreement for crew in the French film industry was signed in January 2012 by most of the technicians' unions and four industry heavyweights, Gaumont, Pathé, Ugc and MK2. The aim was to regulate a profession that has never been included in French labour laws,

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