Cinema and Theater in Nice, France

Favored by the region’s exceptional sunshine, Nice and its agglomeration saw, shortly after the birth of silent cinema, the installation of several film studios. Compared to Hollywood, with the incomparable advantage of “snowfields two hours by car from the coastline Promenade des Anglais”,

A “posing theater” was opened for Charles Pathé’s firms in the villa Tomatis in 1910. The directors of Comica and Nizza, Henri Andréani, Alfred Machin, Émile Cohl, Romeo Bosetti, filmed there comedy films with a team of burlesque actors.

Léonce Perret and Louis Feuillade desert thestudios of Buttes-Chaumont to officiate from the fall came in “the fly cage”, nickname given to the studios of Carras created in 1913 for the Gaumont. They are located by the sea on a plot of 10,000 m 2 and equipped with a glass-fronted shooting theater and a development laboratory. The studios of the Victorine, founded in Saint-Augustin in 1919 by Serge Sandberg, Louis Nalpas then Rex Ingram are preceded by the studios of the villa Liserb in Cimiez.

In 1920, Rose Pansini founded the studios of Saint-Laurent-du-Varon the right bank of the Var. Only La Victorine and Saint-Laurent-du-Var pass the stage of sound cinema. The Nice region, with its natural settings and its two Gaumont Franco-Films Aubert (GFFA) studios at La Victorine in the Saint-Augustin district and Nicaea Films in Saint-Laurent-du-Var, was in a position, in 1937, to ensure the full production of around thirty films per year.

Especially since the advent of sound cinema, the production is subservient to the theater of the capital from which it is difficult to keep the artists away, thus creating an excessive centralization for the benefit of the Parisian studios. Studios can indeed be established everywhere. But in all of Europe only the Côte d’Azur benefits from a climatic and natural situation favorable to outdoor filming for eight months of the year: all types of landscapes are concentrated within a radius of fifty kilometers around Nice with the valleys of Var, Vésubie, Paillon, Siagne, Loup, the plains of Mandelieu-la-Napoule, Fréjus, the forests of the Luberon, the Moors, Turini, the snowy slopes of Auron, Beuil, Valberg, Peïra-Cava, the old villages of Peille, Tourrettes-sur-Loup, Carros, Broc, ‘ Aspremont, the red rocks of Esterel, the islands of Porquerolles, Port-Cros, Sainte-Marguerite, Saint-Honorat, the cap d’Antibes, cap Ferrat,cap d’Ail, cap Martin.

Despite the natural, material, technical resources, or the advantages such as that of benefiting on site from an important figuration, entirely from Nice for Les Misérables by Raymond Bernard, or the reductions granted at the initiative of Nicæa-Film by hotels and by the Compagnie des chemin de fer de Paris à Lyon et à la Méditerranée to the filming companies, and although the cost of a local production is 20% lower, competition is fierce with the Parisian studios.

However, the activity of the Riviera studios was intense during the Second World War, all French cinema having taken refuge in Nice. The Laurentian studios having been destroyed by an Allied bombardment in August 1944, La Victorine remains alone on the Nice film scene and celebrates its centenary in 2019. The city also benefits from the proximity of the Cannes Film Festival.

The list of films made in studios or in natural settings in the city and its metropolitan area is large in number and quality, the Nice studios such as La Victorine having quickly become, despite a few mistakes, as famous as the studios in the Paris region.

Jean Vigo shot in 1929 A propos de Nice, a silent documentary lasting about twenty minutes in which he described “the class struggle under the sun, a popular culture inherited from the city’s Italian origins, sensual and bathed in paganism”. In 1936, Jean de Limur offered the Niçois a Carnival in the middle of November for the filming of La Bête aux sept manteaux. Between 1942 and 1943, La Victorine was the filming location for the Evening Visitors and Children of Paradise by Marcel Carné, and the Eternal Return ofJean Delannoy.

After the war, the studios were used for the shooting of big budget French films such as Fanfan la Tulipe (1952) by Christian-Jaque and Jeux interdits (1952) by René Clément, Napoléon (1955) by Sacha Guitry, Le Corniaud (1965) by Gérard Oury. But also American films like La Main au collet (1955) by Alfred Hitchcock. At the time of the New Wave, Jacques Demy shoots in natural settings in Nice La Baie des Anges (1963). In 1973 Claude Lelouchalso realizes the Happy New Year in Nice in natural settings and François Truffaut pays tribute to the cinema and to the Victorine studios in The American Night. In 1997, Manuel Pradal shot his first film in Nice, Marie Baie des Anges rediscovering “the rebellious and dreamlike spirit of Vigo in a Nice where violence is still brewing”. Laetitia Masson produced La Repentie in 2002.

Victorine Studios
The Victorine studios are film studios created in 1919 in Nice. The Victorine studios are located at 16 avenue Édouard Grinda, in the Saint-Augustin district to the west of Nice, a few hundred meters north of the Nice-Saint-Augustin train station and less than a kilometer from the ‘ airport of Nice-Cote d’Azur.

Louis Nalpas was then the independent producer of Films Louis Nalpas. After the success of La Sultane de l’Amour, he decided to make Nice the European capital of cinema and joined forces with Serge Sandberg, Charles Pathé’s assistant, to create the Victorine studios there. The first works were immediately carried out: earthworks, roads, construction of four studios with offices, workshops, laboratories and the power station building. At the same time, Nalpas is continuing its activities at the Liserb villa in Cimiez.

Director Hollywood of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse with Rudolph Valentino, Rex Ingram, moved to Nice in 1924 until the end of his career comes at the advent of talkies in 1930. During the three years of his leadership, the Victorine studios are experiencing their most brilliant and prosperous period. At the end of this period they no longer have any competitors on the Côte d’Azur.

Considered at the start of 1929, the sound system for the studios was decided in April. The sound recording equipment is ordered from the United States. The installation was carried out in the first months of 1930 by the Compagnie Jacques Haïk Radio-cinema, a subsidiary of the General Company of Wireless Telegraphy. Double revolution at La Victorine, the arrival of sound cinema leading to the disappearance of Franco-Films as a production organ. The company began by merging in 1930 with the Aubert company, the studios becoming Studios Aubert-Franco-Films de La Victorine before withdrawing to devote itself to distribution. The studios were acquired in 1932 by theGaumont. The future of La Victorine is all the more certain as the switch to speaking caused the disappearance of the Carras studios and of the route de Turin, leaving La Victorine almost alone on the Nice cinematographic scene with the Saint-Laurent studios. -du-Var until their destruction by an Allied bombardment in August 1944.

Studios of Saint-Laurent-du-Var
The studios of Saint-Laurent-du-Var are film studios created in 1920 in the city of the same name and destroyed by an Allied bombardment in 1944. The studio theater of Saint-Laurent-du-Var, city of Alpes-Maritimes on the French Riviera, were to present the aisle Studios location between Emile Dechame Avenue and Avenue Leonard Arnaud, on the right bank of the Var, not far from the studios of the Victorine de Nice located on the opposite bank.

Rose Lacau, filmmaker from Orthez and wife of the Milanese lawyer Gustave Pansini moved to Saint-Laurent-du-Var in 1920. She built the studios of AS-Ciné and produced under the name of Rose Pansini seven films from 1920 to 1922: The Power of Chance and A Love Drama produced by the As-Ciné company in 1920; Chantelouve, Le Sang des Finoël, Judith, Le Refuge, Esclave in 1921 and 1922, produced by Films Pansini that she created with her husband, and co-signed with Georges Moncawhich allows it to be distributed by Pathé-Consortium-Cinéma.

Rex Ingram rents the Laurentian studios but prefers La Victorine. Then other directors came to shoot in Saint-Laurent-du-Var: Julien Duvivier in 1923 for Le Reflet by Claude Mercœur, Marcel L’Herbier in 1926 for Le Vertige, André Berthomieu in 1929 for Rapacité.

When the sound cinema arrived, most of the studios in Nice closed their doors as they were unable to make the necessary adjustments. Only La Victorine and Saint-Laurent-du-Var are modernizing and continuing their activity. The Saint-Laurent studios are equipped with three sets and own land on the banks of the Var which allows the construction of outdoor sets. They are used by the production companies Iris Films then Nicæa Films and managed by the Mediterranean Cinematographic Exploitation Company (Cimex) directed by André Paulvé who also manages La Victorine.

The city formerly had a fairly large number of rooms, scattered in different districts. Many, however, closed from the 1960s. The Mercury cinema, located on Place Garibaldi, is an arthouse cinema. It hosts festivals: cinema without borders, African cinema, various debates. Since September 2007, it belongs to the General Council of the Alpes-Maritimes. The UGC Rialto, located rue de Rivoli, not far from the Negresco hotel, also benefits from the “art et test” label. It broadcasts films in their original version and hosts the Nice Short Film Festival, Un festival c’est trop court!, as well as the Portuguese-speaking cinema festival. The Pathé Masséna is located on Avenue Jean Médecin. UGC Variétés is located in the city center, boulevard Victor Hugo. The Pathé Lingostière is a multiplex, located in the commercial area of Nice Lingostière, in the plain of the Var. The Pathé Gare du Sud is another multiplex, located in the new Gare du Sud district.

The Nice Cinematheque has been in existence since 1976 and its objective is to allow the public to discover films from the world’s cinematographic heritage. It offers various tributes to directors or actors, thematic retrospectives, discoveries of the cinematography of a country, “cineconcerts”, “cinema lessons”, conferences on the history and aesthetics of cinema, Bis cinema, sessions and debates. The original version with subtitles is always preferred.

Theaters and performance halls
Nice has about fifteen theaters. The Nice-Côte d’Azur National Drama Center was created in 1969. The Nice National Theater (TNN) was inaugurated in 1989. After having been directed for a long time by Jacques Weber, Daniel Benoin then Irina Brook, it is today hui under the direction of Muriel Mayette-Holtz. The theater has two rooms: a large one, for 900 people, and a small one, for 300 people. It is located next to the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art.

Francis-Gag Theater is the municipal theater. Inaugurated on October 6, 1989, it is located in Old Nice and offers a varied program ranging from repertoire pieces to contemporary creations. It opens its room to theatrical, musical and choreographic creation, in the service of creators and the quality of shows. It has a large room with 260 seats and a small auditorium with 28 seats for small form shows. Its programming highlights the creations of professional performing arts companies in the region.

Support reinforced by the creation of the Pôle Nice Théâtre Arts Vivants in 2016, which allows these companies to benefit from the Jorgi Tasso room and the Rey-Serruriers block, two work and rehearsal spaces dedicated to long-term residences. The TFG is named after Francis Gag, Francis Gagliolo, from his real name. This French author, born in Nice (1900-1988), gave his letters of nobility to the language and to the theater in the Nice language in the 20th century. Very popular personality with multiple talents of actor, author, poet, writer and humanist, he portrays in his work with verve, irony and affection the people of Nice who were so dear to him. The Francis-Gag Theater troupe of Nice is in permanent residence at the TFG and offers creations in Nice every year.

The Magnan space is managed by an association affiliated with the FFMJC, a popular education federation. It organizes exhibitions, shows, plays and hosts the Nice Italian Film Festival.

The Théâtre de la Cité, created in 1994, is directed by Meyer Cohen and can accommodate 200 people. The Téocali is located rue Benoît Bunico and was created in 2003 by Alain Teobaldi. The Théâtre de la Traverse has existed in Nice, in the port district, since 1997 and was created by Jean-Louis Châles. The Alphabet theater is directed by Sébastien Morena, it offers creations for young audiences and contemporary creation. The Théâtre de la Semeuse (since 1906) and the cultural center of Providence (since 2002) are located in Old Nice.

The city also has a few concert halls. The largest, the Nikaïa Palace was inaugurated in 2001 (architects: Gresy et Chevalier). It is made up of a performance hall which, in an indoor configuration, can accommodate 1,500 to 6,250 seats and 7,000 people for conferences or general meetings, for a maximum capacity of 9,000 people. Part of the hall can open onto the neighboring Charles-Ehrmann stadium for very large concerts, up to more than 50,000 spectators. An annex room of 350 m 2 is intended for cultural creations. It can be transformed into a performance hall (500 standing and 320 seated places) or an exhibition hall.

The Green Theater has existed since 1945 and hosts a number of outdoor concerts. It was for a long time the main performance hall in Nice, when it was covered by a tarp. The Lino-Ventura, in L’Ariane, was inaugurated in 1992. It is a multipurpose hall, which can accommodate dance, theater and music performances. It has a capacity of 700 seats and a stage of 150 m 2. The Nice-Nord Forum aims to welcome contemporary song and world music. The Stéphane Grappelli room, in Cimiez, is more devoted to jazz and can accommodate 300 people. The Blackbox room is located in the Bon-Voyage district, in Nice-Est. It can accommodate 300 people. The arenas of Cimiez occasionally host concerts. The city lacks a medium capacity indoor hall for rock concerts.

National Theater of Nice
An Italian hall for 900 people, an amphitheater for 300 people and a rehearsal room that make it possible to perform all forms of theater. The Center has a very important mission divided into two parts: dramatic creation and the hosting of shows reflecting the major trends in contemporary theatrical creation. Apart from its main activity, the theater, the Center also hosts contemporary dance companies, recitals and concerts during the season. The Center Dramatique National de Nice offers an average of thirty different shows each season.

Thus, over all these past years, the audience has been able to applaud great actors such as Jeanne Moreau, Nicole Garcia, Nathalie Baye, Maria Casarès, Denise Gence, Judith Magre, Emmanuelle Béart, Alice Sapritch, Christine Fersen, Emmanuelle Devos, Isabelle Nanty, Françoise Fabian, Marthe Keller, Carole Bouquet, Myriam Boyer, Sophie Duez, Fanny Cottençon, Valérie Kaprisky, Jane Birkin, Helena Noguerra, Romane Borhinger… Gérard Depardieu, Gérard Desarthe, Philippe Clévenot, Jean Carmet, Guy Tréjan, Daniel Auteuil, Michel Aumont, Roland Bertin, Jean-Paul Roussillon, Bernard Giraudeau, Roland Blanche, Eric Elmosnino, François Berléand, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Fabrice Lucchini, Nils Arestrup, Jean-Michel Dupuy, François Marthouret…

Most of the great directors of recent years have come to present their productions at the Center Dramatique National de Nice, Jérôme Savary, Jean-Pierre Vincent, Claude Régy, Roger Planchon, Bob Wilson, Giorgio Strehler, Peter Brook, Georges Lavaudant, Jorge Lavelli, Luc Bondy, Olivier Py, Yves Beaunesne, Bartabas, Alain Françon, Joël Jouanneau, Irina Brook, Benno Besson, André Engel, Frédéric Bélier-Garcia, Dan Jammet, Claudia Stavisky, Krzysztof Warlikowski, Alfredo Arias…

For dance: Pina Baush, Lucinda Childs, Jennifer Muller, Carolyn Carlson, Karole Armitage, William Forsythe, Philippe Decouflé, Angelin Preljocaj, Blanca Li, Claude Brumachon, Alain Platel, Daniel Larrieu, Anne Teresa de Keersrmaeker, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui…

Francis-Gag Theater
Located in the heart of Old Nice, it offers quality cultural programming while supporting theater companies in the creation and presentation of live shows. Inaugurated on October 6, 1989. This pretty cocoon offers a varied and creative program, ranging from repertoire pieces to contemporary creations. It opens its room to theatrical, musical and choreographic creation, in the service of creators and the quality of shows.

Completely renovated 15 years ago, the TFG has all the sceno-technical equipment necessary for the production of shows and the reception of troops. It has a large, friendly and cozy room with 260 seats, a 98 m² stage and an intimate small auditorium with 28 seats for small form shows.

Its programming highlights the creations of professional performing arts companies in the region. Support reinforced by the creation of the Pôle Nice Théâtre Arts Vivants in 2016, which allows these companies to benefit from the Jorgi Tasso room and the Rey-Serruriers block, two work and rehearsal spaces dedicated to long-term residences. Renowned talents have also taken to the “big” stage: Sarah Doraghi, Stéphane Rousseau, Laurent Barrat, Nathalie Marquay and Jean-Pierre Pernault, Mustapha El Astrassi, Corinne Touzet and Jérôme Anger, the percussionist Minino Garay and the Cuban pianist and singer Janysett Mc Pherson, Jean-Félix Lalanne, Nilda Fernandez, Les Chevaliers du Fiel, Georges Moustaki, Antony Joubert, Noëlle Perna…

The TFG has a big name: Francis Gag, Francis Gagliolo, his real name. This French author, born in Nice (1900-1988), gave his letters of nobility to the language and to the theater in the Nice language in the 20th century. Very popular personality with multiple talents of actor, author, poet, writer and humanist, he portrays in his work with verve, irony and affection the people of Nice who were so dear to him. The Francis-Gag Theater wants to and must offer a special, visible and regular place to theatrical, musical and poetic creation in the Nice language. The Francis-Gag Theater troupe of Nice is also the company in permanent residence at the TFG and each year offers two creations in line with the Nice theatrical tradition.

Through its role of “ferryman”, the Nice Cinematheque combines two great ambitions: knowledge and service. Increase the knowledge of audiences about cinema and its history and serve those who make it, who study it, who love it. This is what it is developing through four main axes In 2013, the film library welcomed more than 51,000 spectators. To date, it keeps more than 4,900 copies of films

It also contributes to the preservation of local memory by building up a collection of amateur films and “non-film” documents relating to the region, by filming and recording interviews with personalities, actors, directors, technicians. settled in Nice and its surroundings, and who participated in the shadows and in the light to write a page of cinema in the history of our region.

List of films
The city was chosen as the setting for films shot. With 150 to 200 production companies received each year by the filming reception office, Nice is the natural home of Cinema in France. The following is a short list of films shot in the Alpes-Maritimes department following are the films and television.

Magic in the Moonlight by Woody Allen with Colin Firth and Emma Watson,
The Man We Loved Too Much by André Téchiné with Catherine Deneuve and Guillaume Canet,
The List of my desires by Didier Le Pêcheur with Mathilde Seigner and Marc Lavoine,
Papa Lumière by Ada Loueilh with Nils Arestrup (not yet distributed in theaters),
Malavita by Luc Besson with Robert de Niro,
Stick your tongue out Mademoiselle d’Axelle Ropert with Louise Bourgoin,
With all our strength from Niels Tavernier with Jacques Gamblin and Alexandra Lamy,
When everything will be fine by Emmanuel Mouret with Virginie Ledoyen, Joey Starr,
Grace of Monaco by Olivier Dahan with Nicole Kidman, Tim Roth, Moëbius by Eric Rochant with Jean Dujardin, Cécile de France,
De Rouille et d’os by Jacques Audiard with Marion Cotillard
Laurent Tuel’s First Circle with Jean Reno,
Un Balcon sur la mer by Nicole Garcia with Jean Dujardin, Marie José Croze,
The Prey of Eric Valette with Albert Dupontel…
The American Night by François Truffaut,
The Bay of Angels by Jacques Demy,
And God created the wife of Roger Vadim,
Children of Paradise by Marcel Carné…

Nice Carnival
The Nice Carnival is the largest carnival in France and one of the most famous in the world. It takes place every winter in Nice, in February for two weeks including three weekends, and attracts several hundred thousand spectators. Carnival is one of the three biggest carnivals in the world, after those in Rio and Venice.

Carnival 2019: King of Cinema. It was the turn of the “King of Cinema” to be at the center of this unmissable event. Inn 2019 Nice is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Studios de la Victorine, a Mecca of the film industry on the Côte d’Azur, which since 1919 has seen Marcel Carné, Roger Vadim, François Truffaut, Jean Cocteau, Jacques Demy, Alfred Hitchcock, Woody Allen and many other talented directors.

The Nice Carnival with its 6 corsi, day and night, animated by 17 floats and more than 1,600 dancers, artists and musicians from all over the world, brought this authentic and magical event to the public. On floats adorned with the most beautiful floral arrangements (80% of which are locally produced), costumed actresses based on the theme of the year distributed more than 250,000 flowers and 21 tonnes of mimosa to the public. From February 16 to March 2, 2019, the entire City of Nice vibrated to the rhythm of the cinema with this new edition of the Nice Carnival which gathered more than 200,000 spectators.