Cinephile Tourism in France

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Mike Gebert

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Cinephile Tourism in France

PostTue Aug 22, 2017 6:25 pm

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We arrive in Paris and Steve McQueen is everywhere— an exhibit, at a gallery that, as it turned out, was just up the street from our Marais rental, devoted purely to le style of the 1960s icon. Checking a local guide, we see that there's a whole series devoted to auteurist adventure films, and so we spend some time deciphering titles like Les aventures du capitaine Wyatt avec Gary Cooper, de Raoul Walsh (ah— must be Distant Drums). If Paris isn't still the movie capitol (in terms of what's playing at any given time), I'm not sure what city would be.

So where others must see the Eiffel Tower, we set out for the Cinematheque Francaise. Besides theaters (where they were showing mostly 70s cop films, in case anyone wished to see The Laughing Policeman or The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3, avec Walter Matthau), they had two floors of exhibitions. One was an historical exhibit, the other was what they call an exposition—a series of themed rooms devoted to emotions (which, curiously, matched up exactly with the ones in Pixar's Inside Out). This was, perhaps, the part for the kiddies, but we all enjoyed seeing how they created movie sets devoted to happiness or anger, complete with clips from films (which allowed Dad to show off by blithely saying "Oh, Zazie dans le Metro" or "Oh, Ozu's Good Morning" as each clip came up). This was on the wall of one of the sections— I assume Laughter or something like that:

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Toward the end there was a whole section on production drawings and animation. Tati returned in some sketches—not sure, honestly, why he needed sketches of himself returning as his most famous character:

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And here, sketches for Duvivier's 1930s version of Poil de Carotte (not that the color would have done any good in the black and white film):

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This is the one I gasped at. To think... these delicate things still exist almost a century later:

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Yes, Lotte Reiniger's handcut animated drawings from The Adventures of Prince Achmed.

Downstairs was the more serious exhibit, with some truly remarkable items from cinema's past and earliest days. Alas, photos are verboten. Happily, only one person watches the whole place. Here are some of the ones I snuck:

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Vigo's L'Atalante, after it got a retitling for a pop song of the day.

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* * *

Lyon has an institute named for a couple of local fellows in early film as well:

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Coming soon to Lyon:

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Safety Last is Monte La-Dessus, which is translated literally as "Stands Above"— i.e., "The Pinnacle," I think.

Our main film-related excursion here was to FNAC, which is basically French Best Buy. Both here and at the Cinematheque Francaise's shop, I looked for certain rare French items, hoping they had been released but weren't available on Amazon. Sadly, the rare Pagnol or Bunuel DVDs were not to be. Instead, I marveled at how auteurist and noir-focused the French are, that things like this are to be had at a mass market retailer:

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The one on the right is Scandal Sheet. I almost bought this:

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Emperor of the North {Pole], de Robert Aldrich.

Oddly enough, we came across this and Liam wanted to buy it (but no English subtitles, alas). I had to tell him that we had just passed up the chance, earlier that day, to see Louis de Funes street.

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“Sentimentality is when it doesn't come off—when it does, you get a true expression of life's sorrows.” —Alain-Fournier
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boblipton

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Re: Cinephile Tourism in France

PostTue Aug 22, 2017 6:47 pm

The Tati sketches may relate to L'Illusioniste (2010), directed by Sylvain Chomet, best known for Les Triplettes de Belleville.

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Last edited by boblipton on Wed Aug 23, 2017 6:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Mike Gebert

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Re: Cinephile Tourism in France

PostTue Aug 22, 2017 8:03 pm

Ah, looking at images from The Illusioniste, you must be right.

Actually, I suspect everything in the room was from an animated film, including Poil de Carotte— the exhibit tag referenced the Duvivier film, but maybe only as the most famous version of the story; there have been many animated versions, to judge by an image search, although I don't see one that matches that drawing offhand.
“Sentimentality is when it doesn't come off—when it does, you get a true expression of life's sorrows.” —Alain-Fournier

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