Advancing decentralisation & environmental protection in France
Saturday 01 April, 2023
A 1,500km diagonal line can be drawn from the Ardennes to the Basque Country, running through some of the most sparsely populated departments of France.
Three 17-metre Volvo trucks, fitted with 80-seat cinemas, drive across these remote areas in the Centre-Val de Loire region.
A genuine cinema theatre was built in a trailer by a bodyworker called Toutenkamion (René Goscinny could hardly have come up with a better name), who is a specialist in tailoring the trailers from heavy good vehicles for use as mobile broadcasting units, mobile clinics or command stations.
Classified as an "arthouse", this cinema is as good as any in a city, boasting read foam seats, gently-sloping floors, wheelchair ramps, audio description for visually impaired users, digital projection, trailers and, of course, winter heating. All that isn't provided is the popcorn!
The CNC (French National Cinema Centre) is very interested in this new experience and, in particular, in the plans to replace, by 2025, diesel engine former road tractor with ones with electric engines that run on hydrogen. Two fuel cell batteries will be capable of generating up to 300kW of electricity, making the cinema self-sufficient in energy.
This will significantly improve the carbon footprint, and the region could secure public funding, as indicated by the CNC in its most recent announcements.
The technician behind all this is a veritable Swiss army knife on legs, since he is also a projectionist, haulier and, of course, a ticket seller. He also runs special sessions with actors in the region.
The cinema truckers are nice, as Max Meynier might have said on RTL.
There's just one quibble: the enclosures don't have soundproofing.
So the rain, motorbikes, the nearby bar, the rooster crow and the church bell become part of a film's soundtrack, a fact that would surely have tickled Jacques Tati, who made the noises of daily life the key ingredients of his "sound" cinema, creating a perfect synchronicity of visual and aural action, as in his films from Jour de fête (1949) to Parade (1973).