CAIRN-INT.INFO : International Edition

Although the difficulties of starting a career in arts are well documented, much less is known about how such careers are retained. What are the conditions of survival in the filmmaking industry in the 21st century France? How does the entry point into the cinematographic space influence the chances of survival? This article is based on the analysis of a database gathering information on the conditions of production and on the reception of all films produced in France between 2000 and 2010. It analyses the economic and symbolic logics shaping the beginnings of directors’ careers from the first to the second film. It proposes new methodological tools for capturing the dynamics of their careers by taking into consideration the role played in survival by the point of entry into the cinematographic space. The article begins by an analysis of the space of French films which is shown to be largely segmented for first films as for those to come. This heterogeneous universe can be divided into four sub-areas (“marginal films”, “small medium films”, “middle films” and “blockbusters”) in which economic factors are always central but go hand in hand with varying definitions of success. The filmmakers’ careers are then studied by examining the possibilities of circulation between relatively compartmentalized sub-areas within which careers evolve in different ways.

  • Cinematographic space
  • artistic careers
  • survival
  • filmmakers
  • first movies
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