Tribute to Claude Gérard
The exhibitor of the emblematic Espace Saint-Michel in Paris has passed away at the age of 77. He was one of the first four French exhibitors to be a member of Europa Cinemas, involved from the very beginning of the network.
In the heart of the French capital and the Latin Quarter, the Espace Saint-Michel is a landmark venue, even for those who have never visited it. Just a stone's throw from the Fontaine Saint-Michel, a meeting point for many tourists and students, its facade stands alone as an act of resistance in a neighbourhood where cultural venues are becoming increasingly rare.
Since 1986, Claude Gérard has been in charge of this 2-screen cinema, which he inherited from his father, who had taken it over from his father in 1918. Today, Claude's sons are ready to take over.
"Cinéma Saint-Michel" had to face a storm in 1988, when an attack by Catholic fundamentalists caused a fire and its near destruction, in an attempt to oppose the programming of Martin Scorsese's THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST. Fourteen people were injured in this terrorist act. Three years later, the rebuilt cinema changed its name to "L'Espace Saint-Michel".
Claude Gérard was known in the profession for keeping films on the screen that he felt deserved to be shown for months on end, often documentaries such as MEDIA CRASH – QUI A TUE LE DEBAT PUBLIC? (over 5,600 admissions in 2022) or DEBOUT LES FEMMES! (THOSE WHO CARE, 3,000 admissions in 2021). We deeply regret the loss of such a committed and enthusiastic figure.
Picture: on September 10th 2019, Robert Guédiguian awarded Claude Gérard the Chevalier de l'Ordre du Mérite medal, on the proposal of the Ministry of Culture.