Friday, March 10, 2006

strikes and hailstorms

On Wednesday when I went to my University there were huge spray-painted letters on the building, "PARIS 8 NON AU CPE"...essentially, since they couldn't participate in the metro-workers, train-workers, postal, or journalist strikes, the students felt they should have one of their own. Okay, I'm cruel, but striking is fricking the national pastime here. So, my University, amoung many others, will be intermitently shut down whenever it is deemed. It is some national strike against a new contract for young people- the CPE is the name of the contract I gather- and it says that you can be hired and (gasp) fired at will for the first 2 years of employement (I think, though I'm not clear of the details). The fact that one could actually be fired is extremely difficult for French people, who think of a job (even at 22 years old) as a sort of lifetime contract, to grasp. Well, I don't really care about these contracts too much- but alas, this strike may be truly a problem. My professor warned me, half-jokingly I think, that this could mean the university gets shut down full-stop for weeks. and university closure = no equipment, no money, no crew, no movie-making! But I think it is a bit premature to sound the alarm.

In slightly better news, my film "Nest" was selected for a little film festival in Denmark called Aarhus Festival of Independent Arts. My first european screening! Perhaps the Danish audience is where my true fanbase lies...must investigate!

2 Comments:

Anonymous Baptiste said...

I was looking for comments on the "blocage de l'université" and I found your blog. I took the liberty to quote it at length here :
http://www.coulmont.com/blog/2006/03/10/
(I can remove the quotation if you prefer)

11:00 AM  
Anonymous Kali said...

Strikingly, I always thought that one the quality of a film maker is being extremely perceptive... I was struck by your comments of French strikes in University that miss the point about French society. Yes, French people understand they can be fired, maybe because 10 per cent of the active population is unemployed, 23 per cent of the under 25 are unemployed, more than 22 000 French students live in poverty. Even among educated young people, the situation is extremely difficult: it’s common for people having Ma or PhD education level to wait two years to find a job, often not related to their skills and for a very modest salary. In the meantime, they do “training”in companies for 300 euros per month… 25 per cent of the minimum wages! The CPE contracts are unavoidably going to worsen the situation. You “don't really care about these contracts too much- but alas, this strike may be truly a problem”… Will you be able to make your film while students try to survive and improve their situations, although we can criticize their methods? Being French and living abroad, being myself quite critical sometimes about France, I can’t believe one can live in a society with such contempt, selfishness and lack of sensitivity. Anyway, I hope you will make your film, because this is all what is it about, isn’t it?

3:57 AM  

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