France Digs Blaxploitation!
The arrival of American sound films at first created panic among the European countries who immediately resisted the influx of US films. The French public didn’t accept films in other languages, the film industry tried to ignore them and the government strengthened censorship and tariff laws and stopped ‘talkies’ from being shown in France for a period of time.
Fast forward thirty five years and you see a very different situation where Blaxploitation films became very popular in France and have continued to be every since.
Blaxploitation film actor Fred Williamson is quoted as saying about French film fans:
“I think the Italians are probably the best in the entire world, and maybe the French in the same way, that once you become a recognizable star, they give it to you for life. You don’t keep having to make that hit picture. You don’t have to be continuously working at putting your name up on the screen so that they remember you. Once they recognize you and know that’s who you are, they give you polite recognition. So when you’re a star, you’re always a star. And, you know, that’s so great about a foreign country like Italy. And to be honest, I think of France in the same way.”
The posters shown below were released in France along with the films they promoted during the 1970’s. The artwork and actor depictions on these posters are very different than the U.S. versions, highlighting how Blaxploitation films were marketed in the U.S. vs. the rest of the world.
A number of these posters are a part of the Museum Of UnCut Funk Collection.