A walk down memory lane. Note how French culture nationalists have come to tone down their rhetoric since that time. They sure didn't expect that their Gallic arrogance would lead la Francophonie to such crushing defeats back then.
French intellectuals have always loved a good fight. But the latest Parisian cultural brouhaha spoke to something beyond ideas -- to money -- and exposed once again France's fears of being culturally overwhelmed by that internationalist upstart and ogre, the United States.
The crisis, which broke out on Monday and was at least superficially resolved on Thursday, arose almost surreptitiously. On Dec. 17 the French Academy of Cinematic Arts and Technology, which administers the Cesars, or French Oscar equivalents, decided to ban films not in French.
Advocates of the French language leaped to the academy's defense. The Future of the French Language Association congratulated the academy. "Certain French cineastes, happily a minority, have chosen to betray their language and their culture for reasons of profit," sniffed the association in a statement. The Independent Union of Interpretive Artists also welcomed the decision as a blow against "certain collaborators with American audiovisual interests."
In the NY times, 15 years ago, one year before the Toubon law was passed at the French parliamentary assembly: