The address of La Maison du Curé is 12 route de Chissey. Just follow the road out of Cormatin through La Bergerie and Lys and you come upon the village of Chissey les Mâcon. Although there are only 246 Chissayons there is not only a school and a mairie but also a cinema.
The cinema puts on a film once a month and the film evening is a chance for us to meet our friends from the neighbouring villages. I had thought that they would show only obscure French films, but this week we were treated to ‘The Artist’ which won all those Baftas at the weekend.
It felt very much like actually being in the 1920s watching the silent movie with the noise of the whirring projector behind us. It came on two rolls of film. During the interval while the roll was being changed we were treated to drinks and cake.
Throughout the history of the French film industry the French Government has been very protective of its culture. There has been a lot of criticism about the subsidies given to film companies which churn out films that appeal to the lowest common denominator, or films that are such rubbish that they would not be made if the company had to make a profit from them. In the past the French have felt threatened by the Americans, first by the success of Hollywood films, and now the Steven Spielberg sort of blockbuster movie. So money from taxes extracted from theatre goers and large companies is used to help the smaller concerns.
To cut a long story short the government encourages us all to go to see French films. If a village is more than a certain distance from the nearest cinema they give subventions to help set up a cinema in the foyer rural and pay for the film hire. Then there is only a nominal charge for entry which goes towards the hall expenses. The films are available to the village cinemas four to six months after their release so they are up to date. We will become regular cinema goers now as I love French films.
While on the subject of Chissey, we were passing yesterday and called in to see its romanesque church. Saint Pierre was built in the 12th century on the site of a previous church built in 926. Although somewhat remodelled in the 19th century you can see the original 12thcentury capitals depicting biblical scenes. The one below represents the nativity with the angel flying to tell the good news to the shepherds with their sheepdogs.
Also the altarpiece is magnificent.
So although we have been living in this area nearly four years we are still discovering treasures on our doorstep.