French politicians give back pipe to Jacques Tati

Afp
Monday 24 January 2011 01:00
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French politicians on Wednesday voted to overturn rules that saw iconic comedian Jacques Tati lose his beloved pipe and existentialist writer Jean-Paul Sartre ditch his trademark cigarette.

A parliamentary commission voted for a bill that would exclude cultural heritage from the stringent health legislation passed in 1991 that forbids any direct or indirect promotion of smoking.

Last year posters for a Tati retrospective in Paris showed the late actor and director with his pipe replaced by a yellow toy windmill - which critics slammed as an overdose of political correctness.

In another example in 2005 the National Library airbrushed a cigarette from Sartre's hand in a photograph used in a poster to advertise an exhibition.

On Wednesday the cultural affairs committee almost unanimously backed the new bill - which must now go before parliament - that would exclude cultural heritage from the anti-smoking law.

"The falsifications of history, the censorship of works of the mind, the denial of reality... should remain the ignominious mark of totalitarian regimes," said the bill proposed by the opposition Socialists.

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