Looking for good ideas and places? With exhibitions, festivals, concerts, shops, capsule collections, restaurants, bars and more, our Urban Guide pages tell you what's on and what's just opened. A great way to discover all the richness and diversity of the Provence culture, shopping, food and drink, from. Local creators also have their say in these pages.

February 2023


Light on Provence

As with modern painting, cinema started life in the sparkling light and richly varied landscapes of Provence. Our region has been inspiring filmmakers and TV producers ever since the first silent film. 

Alba Gaïa Kraghede Bellugi dans « La Fille qu’on appelle » d'après le roman de Tanguy Viel. César de Marcel Pagnol, 1936 Production : Les Films Marcel Pagnol © Yann Maritaud
Le téléfilm « Bellefond » avec Stéphane Bern. © Jean-Philippe Baltel
© UniFrance

César and La Gloire de mon Père. Great Provençal actors, notably Fernandel, embodied an era in popular cinema. Marseille’s shady reputation made it an attractive setting for filmmakers. Splendid examples are Jacques Deray’s Borsalino (1970) and Friedkin’s The French Connection (1971). Luc Besson’s Taxi (2000) also made Marseille familiar to many a filmgoer. For TV, Marseille studios have produced cop shows like Léo Mattéï and Brigade des Mineurs and the soap opera Plus Belle la Vie, all three of which have become big hits nationwide.

« Tant que le soleil frappe » avec l›acteur Swann Arlaud. © Sarah Derny
« Un petit miracle » tourné dans le Pays d’Aix-en-Provence. © Vendome Films Yves Mayet

Thriving sector

The TV and film industry is one of our region’s flagship sectors, with over €550 million in sales, 3000 jobs and 1500 firms. The region attracts many producers and directors, such as filmmaker Sophie Boudre with her Un Petit Miracle. Four films set in Provence won awards at the last Cannes festival, including Titane, directed by Julia Ducournau. With great décors, local technicians and the support of the regional authorities, the PACA region is second only to Paris as a filming location. In 2022, the region invested €7 million in aid of film production. In 2021, Marseille was the location for 1434 days of filming in all. The economic impact of all this was €67 million, including €22 million in wages.

Apart from being an absolutely marvellous place to film, Marseille offers strong social themes and filmmakers are not slow to pick up on these. Think Cédric Jimenez and his Bac Nord. In 2016, Netflix produced its first French series, Marseille, all about politicians and the Mafia. But as well as the city’s shady side, TV has shown us a bucolic version of Marseille, with Human Flowers of Flesh from director Helena Wittman, and Marcel Pagnol’s Le Temps des secrets. In 2022, Marseille was the location for plenty of film and TV shoots: for Philippe Petit’s Tant que le soleil frappe, La Fille qu’on appelle for ARTE and Baya Kasmi‘s Youssef Salem a du succès which hit the screens in January 2023.

Marseille’s international fame is growing all the time, thanks to big events like Marseille-Provence 2013, the Festival international de Cinéma de Marseille, Cartoon Next, the Rencontres de Coproduction Francophone and more.

La 10e saison de « Léo Mattéï, Brigade des mineurs » avec Jean-Luc Reichmann. « Youssef Salem a du succès » avec Ramzy Bedia, sortie en janvier 2023.© Jean-Philippe Baltel
© Julien Roux

La musique et le cinéma vivent une relation fusionnelle. Le festival international MUSIC & CINEMA Marseille est le premier festival européen entièrement consacré à la rencontre entre les professionnels de l’image et du son. Il réunit 250 films et plus de 700 compositeurs, réalisateurs, scénaristes, comédiens venus du monde entier.

Du 27 mars au 1er avril! - Cinéma Artplexe Canebière

Par Mathilde Hingray


+ d'art et culture