The staff of Cahiers du Cinéma, the iconic French film magazine that has been publishing since the 1950s and was a key component of the country’s New Wave cinema movement, has walked out in protest over its new ownership.
Le Monde reported that 15 employees including editor Stéphane Delorme have resigned one month after a 20-strong group of tech and finance entrepreneurs, as well as several prominent film personalities such as A Prophet producer Pascal Caucheteux, acquired the mag. In a statement, the Cahiers staff claimed that the new owners created a conflict of interest and that the publication’s independence would be compromised.
Launched by a trio of film personalities in 1951, Cahiers became the stalwart publication of the era’s blossoming French film scene, and also saw writers graduate to become prominent directors in their own right including Jean-Luc Godard, Claude Chabrol and François Truffaut.
The monthly is the oldest French-language film publication in the world. At the time of writing, its new owners had not responded to the walkout and the status of its next edition remains unclear.
“The new shareholders include eight producers who create a conflict of interest for a critical publication. Whatever articles are published, there would be a suspicion of interference. Les Cahiers has always been engaged, taking clear positions,” a statement from the staff read.
According to reports, the team were also uncomfortable with the new owners’ plans to turn the traditionally serious publication into a more “chic” and “relaxed” read. Jean-Philippe Tessé, deputy editor and a 17-year Cahiers vet, added in a statement that their plans were an “absolute misinterpretation” of the magazine.
According to the Le Monde report, the staff will be able to utilize French legislation that allows them to claim unemployment rights in the event of a change of shareholders.