Friday, 25 March 2011


(Thanks to Anna-Lisa who inspired me to write this post!)

There is no other city, and possibly no other place in the world, I love more than Paris, France. I go there every year, and every time I'm just as enchanted, bewitched, swept off my feet. The reasons for my love are many and complex, and we need not analyse them here. Instead I'll just post a handful of sequences that also are in love with Paris.

The first one is the opening sequence of Bob le flambeur (1956), the first of Jean-Pierre Melville's gangster films, and one of his best. I sometimes wonder if one of the reasons why Melville is one of my favourite filmmakers is because he is a Parisian. This sequence is basically just Bob going home across Montmartre an early morning, saying hello to the few people that are up, the hookers, the police, the street sweepers. It's the kind of sequence that makes you wonder what all the fuss about the coming French New Wave was all about.

The next one is the opening sequence of Love Me Tonight (1932), the wonderful musical with Maurice Chevalier. It's directed by Rouben Mamoulian in typically gracefully and fluent manner.

This next sequence is not actually set in Paris, but it is about Paris, and so lovely. From Billy Wilder's Sabrina (1954). The issue here is that Sabrina is in love with the younger brother of Linus (Bogart).

À bout de souffle (1960) deserves to be included. Here's Jean Seberg selling New York Herald Tribune.

Here we have some colour, and again Audrey Hepburn. Funny Face (1957).

This is not a sequence but a trailer, for Cédric Klapisch's Paris (2008). The title is self-explanatory.

Here we have a hybrid, What Time Is It Over There (Ni na bian ji dian, 2001). It's made by Tsai Ming-Liang and it moves back and forth between Paris and Taipei. It's a bit more meditative than the earlier sequences, and its relationship to Paris is also somewhat complicated. There's perhaps more loneliness than love.

That'll be all. Almost. There's just this link, which is the Paris sequence in Casablanca (1942) re-edited with music from Inception (2010). Two films that also love Paris.

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