The National Convention, 21 September 1792 - 26 October 1795

Pierre Schoeller, Director

La Lettre AFC n°233

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Back then, they, too, debated over a Convention…rather ; the Convention was the place where they debated. That National Convention was composed of 749 representatives elected by direct suffrage for the first time in our country’s history, the distinction between active and passive citizens having been abolished.

The National Convention sat from 21 September 1792 to 26 October 1795. Three years during which the monarchy was abolished, the Republic one and indivisible was proclaimed, a new constitution—France’s second—was elaborated and ratified. The Constitution of 1793 was only in force for a few months. I can’t resist the pleasure of citing a couple of its articles here for you :

Art. 23 The social guarantee consists of the effort of all to assure to each the enjoyment and preservation of his rights ; this guarantee is based upon national sovereignty.

Art. 29 Each citizen has an equal right to concur in the formation of the law and the selection of his representatives or agents.

Art. 34 The entire social body is oppressed whenever any single one of its members is oppressed. Each member is oppressed whenever the social body is oppressed.

Art. 35 (and last) When the government violates the rights of the people, insurrection is, for the people as a whole and individually, the most sacred of rights and the most essential of duties.

This is what was said, thought, and decided of a common agreement in June 1793.
We all feel it, we all more or less admit it today, our Convention Collective (collective labour agreement) will force us to redefine the way we work. We will have to redefine our relationship to the economy of a film. Why is this discussion so violent ? Why have some people made it so dramatic ? Why have we the bitter impression that the debate was stolen from us ? Why weren’t we listened to because of fear ? How can it be that the transparency of production costs is an imaginary animal that everyone talks about but that nobody has ever seen ? What has become of the pleasant cooperation of our shared projects of yore ?

Must a cinematographer once again become a pariah ? Or a tyrant, fragile and subject to a fixed number of films per year, or trapped by a budgetary ceiling ? Is that the alternative ? I, for one, refuse that. And I am discussing it with Denis. And I am discussing it with Laurence, with Julien, with Aurélie (not the Minister of Culture Filippetti), with Jean-Pierre, with Bénédicte, with Jacques, with Pascale, with Alain, with Caroline, I am discussing it. What if we invented a tool, an agreement to limit the high salaries of the actors in order to reallocate the money where it is needed, where people are suffering ? Just one idea amongst others.