French filmgoers get spring fever

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PARIS -- French filmgoers have spring fever, as over 1.2 million cinephiles headed to Gallic movie theaters on Sunday, the first day of the country's 8th annual discount cinema fest, the "Printemps du Cinema."

The event, organized by the FNCF, France's national cinema foundation, had its highest attendance ever, with an 8% increase from last year.

For three days, the French public can enjoy their favorite films for a reduced ticket price of just €3.50 ($4.65). Zhang Yimou's "Curse of the Golden Flower" topped the day's box office with 41,366 admissions, a 40.9% increase from the previous day, followed by U.S. comedy "Music & Lyrics" with 34,361 tickets sold and Gallic thriller "Counter Investigation" with 19,598.

German Oscar-winner "The Lives of Others" was a crowd-pleaser with 15,006 tickets sold, and audiences also enjoyed home-grown fare including Edith Piaf epic "La Vie en Rose" (12,516 admissions), Andre Techine's "The Witnesses" (11,347 admissions) and Francois Ozon's English-language coming-of-age story "Angel" (10,056 admissions).

U.S. imports really benefited from the ticket price reduction with attendance for both "Breaking and Entering" and "Freedom Writers" increasing over 60% from Saturday to Sunday and "A Night at the Museum" seeing a 109.1% jump in admissions from the day before.

The "Printemps du Cinema" continues through Tuesday in theaters all over France.
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