1 December 2023

All it took was a petition (“No to the dismantling of the Ecole Nationale Supérieure Louis-Lumière. Let’s save public education!”) and a platform in Release, Wednesday, March 8, to set fire to the powder. Because the Cité du Cinéma, in Saint-Denis (Seine-Saint-Denis), is, for the time of the 2024 Olympics, destined to become the heart of the Olympic village, it must be emptied of its occupants – at least temporarily. And the Ecole Nationale Supérieure Louis-Lumière, which has been housed there since 2012, is therefore called upon to move in 2024 to premises in Aubervilliers (Seine-Saint-Denis).

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“Me too, if I did not know the file, the way it is written, I would sign their petition…” Duffle coat, scarf, quick gestures, Vincent Lowy, the director of this establishment which trains the cream of image and sound technicians, does not hide his annoyance. “I’m not interested in arguing. The only thing that matters to me today is that people who are attached to the school understand that, contrary to what is said there, it is not threatened. »

Students from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure Louis-Lumière in front of their establishment, in Saint-Denis (Seine-Saint-Denis), on March 22, 2023.

When, in September, he announced that he had found premises in Aubervilliers, backing onto the Condorcet campus, the teachers went up to the curtain: the school would be spread over several sites, without a projection room, with platforms to be built… Bronca. In January, new announcement: a budget of 4 million euros of work is planned, with construction of a projection room. On the other hand, the school will not return to the Cité du cinema, whose rent of 3.5 million euros per year is considered prohibitive. Louis-Lumière will remain in the premises of Aubervilliers for nine years, pending a final installation in 2033 in Champs-sur-Marne (Seine-et-Marne). Understand: in a place that remains to be found or built, near the Gustave-Eiffel University (Marne-la-Vallée), on which the establishment will depend.

This time the cup is full. Faced with this feeling of falling from Charybdis to Scylla, the demand of the inter-union is simple and repeated at will: temporary relocation (“The time of the Olympics, a lesser evil, we did it well for the Covid”sighs a professor from then on resolved to the previous solution) and return to the Cité du Cinéma until the legal end of the lease, in 2027, pending a definitive establishment.

“Too many turnovers”

The banners on the walls of the school set the tone. “Moving passed in 49.3”, “Stop the Threats”, “Don’t put us in the Eicar”. Eicar is the name of the private audiovisual school whose premises Louis-Lumière is to take over. But who to see these banners of revolt wisely hung with gaffer? Who to come to the titanic, disproportionate, and desperately empty hall of the Cité du Cinéma through which one reaches the establishment? In his heyday, Luc Besson had imagined this immense cinematographic hub – studios, film sets, offices, catering areas, nursery… –, persuading the State to invest massively in a public-private partnership, for which the Louis-Lumière school, dependent on the Ministry of Higher Education, had served as an alibi when settling there in 2012. Another time, another direction, but already, at the time, the team had suffered more than joined.

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