So the European parliament vanity Prix Lux for European filmmakers has been presented. After a spend of approximately £240,000, less than 50 out of a total of 784 MEPs voted; a turnout of 6.3 percent that makes the elections for the palace of varieties quite impressive in comparison.
And at about £4,800 a vote, it was not particularly good value for money. Why do I say less than 50? Because I counted the book of signatories yesterday and at that point only 44 MEPs had signed up saying they had seen them all. When the correspondent from Le Monde phoned the Parliament services she was told that they did not know and could not find out how many votes had been cast. Which, given they awarded the prize on the basis of how many votes had indeed been cast, that is strange. Either that or they have learnt the UK TV trick of deciding the result without reference to the ballot.
Scarily, the speech made by Parliamentary President Hans-Gert Poettering was larded with suggestions that in future all films made in Europe should be made available in all European countries.
Now given that through the operation of the market they are already available in all the EU countries, the only thing stopping them being shown is the commercial acumen of the distributors who do not feel that there would be a significant market for them. I can see UGC and other cinema groups being delighted with that idea. It would amount to all sorts of state aid issues.
What were the films in the competition about?
One wag who had seen them made this comment, "They are like every continental film; A loves B, B loves C, C is gay and then France surrenders".