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French press review 04 January 2013

From Russia with Love: half of the french press is leading this morning with the case of French actor Gerard Depardieu, the french film industry and taxing the rich.

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As has been widely reported, Depardieu has acquired Russian nationality because he disgareed with the François Holland's new tax measures for the mega rich.

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Right wing Le Figaro is headlining "Putin's affront to Holland". It writes the Russian President is hoping to attract other French tax exiles. This has raised a number of questions in Russia notably on the aquisition of the country's nationality. Normally one must have a Russian residency permit and show knowledge of the Russian language.

However, there is a clause in the law stating "that people who are very deserving according to the Russian Federation," can avoid those necessities. Apparentlty Gerard Depardieu fits into this catégory through his "significant contribution to culture and film". So says Putin's spokesperson.

Le Figaro has printed a letter Depardieu wrote to Russian media in which he praises the country and expresses delight at acquiring the citizenship. Vladimir Putin and the French actor are said to be on friendly terms.

Le Figaro looks back on Depardieu's love for the country, his popularity there and his friendship with former USSR countries, notably Uzbekistan. He has recorded a duet with the daughter of the country's president whomLe Fig refers to as a dictator.

The paper also writes that granting Depardieu French nationality is a way for Putin to reassess his power over his country and a way for Russia to get back at France as the two countries' relations have souered following the Syrian crisis.

Left leaning Libération's front cover is dedicated to the salary of the untouchable French actors in the hope of opening up a debate on the French film industry.

It describes the funding the industry gets and how there is a huge star-sytem when the films aren't actually doing that well. It claims that French actors have made a fortune through public funding because of a system put in place to protect cultural exception, i.e. French film and language.

Out of every cinema ticket sold in France, a 10.72 per cent tax is levied and put towards French productions, but let's not forget that most expensive aspect of film production in France is the actors. And let's not even go into all the deals made by actors with luxury brands. That's another story for another day but Libération's article does pose a question: is the industry's funding system now obsolete?

Communist l'Humanité is more interested in how France's right is putting pressure on the socialist government to abandon the taxation hike on the super rich. It writes that voices on the left are concerned by the government's attitude.

In other news, catholic La Croix reports on people forced to live in temporary housing. According to the paper, tens of thousands of people are in that situation, and this includes more and more families and children.

La Croix describes their difficult lives going from hotel to hotel which makes it very hard for them to get help. Most of them are foreign and those most affected are the children. This unstable situation also affects people's mental health.

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