World Capital of Cinema?

photo: place hotel de ville
One of the reasons for making movies in Paris.

'Paris' Spells Hollywood in French

Paris:- Saturday, 21. November 1998:- In other towns when the way is blocked it usually means the gas, water or electricity guys have the roadway ripped up to fix or fiddle something. In Paris it can because cameras are running and actors are in action doing a 'take.'

While I have been vaguely wondering where the '30's-era studios in Boulogne-Billancourt have gone, elsewhere in the vicinity 2,300 film-days were shot last year, not counting shorts. And since Paris has a fair population of movie fans, they bought 26 million tickets to enter Paris' 351 movie houses.

Maybe the spectator numbers are doped a bit, because the city subsidizes ticket prices for the projections between 17:00 and 19:00 - which holds the ticket prices down to either 32 or 18 francs. The city is behind most of the other promo-entry prices as well, such as 'Août au Ciné.'

In Paris old cinemas don't get turned into discount shopping centres; they get fixed up with some of the city's money. 'Art' cinema houses get new seats, and hard-core fans get houses with new vocations, like the 'Cinéma des Cinéates,' in the avenue de Clichy.

The city is currently studying plans to aid neighborhood cinemas, and at the same time, is deciding where the next 'multiplexes' will be located. After the next big one, to be in the 13th, there will be a three-year freeze on new licenses for them.

While a lot of film exposed in Paris goes for TV production and forposter: film fest resistances commercials, 90 full-length features or TV-series were shot in the city in 1997 and the number is rising. At any given time, there are probably about 20 crews on location in the city. This directly employs 400 in the city and about 1,700 in the Ile-de-France.

Poster for the film festival 'Résistances.' See details below.

Foreign films made in Paris are on the rise too, and these have the added benefit of 'advertising' the city - so the Ville de Paris has set up an office with scissors - to cut red tape. It has also been given telephones, so the Prefecture of Police can be kept aware of what's going on too.

Tonight on the TV-news, Jean Reno was talking about shooting John Frankenheimer's 'Ronin' with Robert De Niro in Paris. On account of the customary background noise chez moi, I couldn't hear what he was saying, but the scenes shot of going the wrong way up an exit ramp to the Perifreak! were impressively hairy - somewhat like everyday driving on it.

Ten years after Paris' Vidéothèque opened in the Forum des Halles, it has been expanded into the 'Forum des Images' - with its own collection of 6,000 movies and its 40 screens. The word 'vidéo' got dropped because multimedia, CD-ROMs and the Internet have been let in - this last in the guise of 'CyberPort.'

Well, that's the movies in Paris, folks. We don't have to go to a theme park to see fake movies being made. We live on a live film set.

6th Biennale Internationale du Film Sur l'Art

This festival usually takes place in the Centre Georges Pompdiou, but it is closed and the Ville de Paris 'Forum des Images' is open. This edition has a series of 'desert' films, starting off with Bunuel's 'Simon de Désert.' Another series is on 'art,' by Alain Resnais. There are also films in competition and a 'Panorama du Film Sur l'Art.' A full program, in other words.

For the complete program and other information about this festival, call Info. Tel.: 01 44 78 43 60. There will also be a debate, entitled 'How to Film Art' in salle 100, on Saturday, 12. December, from 11:00 to 12:00.

Forum des Images
Videothèque de Paris, Forum des Halles, porte Saint-Eustache, Paris 1. From Tuesday, 8. December to Tuesday, 15. December. Info. Tel.: 01 44 76 62 00.

Rencontres Cinèmatographiques

The full name of this film festival is 'Rencontres Cinèmatographiques de la Seine-Saint-Denis' and its subtitle is 'Résistances.' The program, which continues until Wednesday, 1. December, features not only 'resistance' films, but also possibilities to meet their makers, talk about the films, participate in conferences and see exhibitions.

What I do not have is the exact location - perhaps there are more than one - therefore call, Info. Tel.: 01 48 02 49 61. It is also possible that one ticket buys two entries. Montreuil; métro: Mairie de Montreuil.

The Salon Nautique '98

With all hands in the lookout focused on the ocean racing this one almost escaped me. This big salon features a lot of boats and more boats and yachts and dinghies and other nautical items and takes up nearly as much room as the cow show or the car show, but less than the home show. This year Brittany is the nautical land or seashore of honor and it's probably about time.

Kidding aside, for boat fans, potential buyers, and plain dreamers, this is a good show for looking at nicely-made and well-constructed items. All the accessories are here too, plus the related sections of water tourism - both on rivers, lakes and offshore. A companion to the boat show is the pool show, and paying an entry for one gets you into both.

At Paris Expo, Paris 15. Métro: Porte de Versailles. From Saturday, 5. December to Monday, 14. December; from 10:00 to 19:00 daily. On 11. December, until 23:00 and closes at 17:00 on the last day. Entry: 60 francs; half fare, 30 francs.

Early Picasso - 1901 to 1909

I wasn't aware that Picasso has his own 'national' museum in Paris. Not many people born in Malaga have anything like it here, or in Malaga itself. On top of this, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City has lent the Picasso museum in Paris ten paintings and 15 designs - to which are added 20 designs from this museum, to make a complete Picasso exhibition.

Together, these works are a panorama of Picasso's 'Blue,' 'Rose' and Cubist periods; but I am not quite sure all of these were crammed into an eight-year period, so long ago. I guess I'll have to go and see for myself - and see if the 'art squat' is still open across the street.

Musée Picasso, Hôtel de Salé, 5. rue Thorigny, Paris 3. On view until Monday, 25. January. Info. Tel.: 01 42 71 25 21.

Livre des Timbres '98

For the holiday season - and for philatelists - the Poste is offering a new book. From what I can gather, it contains illustrated histories surrounding the new stamps issued in 1998. In addition, it contains 323 francs' worth of actual stamps. If ordered before 7. December, the price is 419 francs: after that it costs 459 francs. The book comes in a prestige box.

'La Poste's services for philatelists are accessible by the Web to interested collectors. Although it is not explicit that La Poste takes foreign orders, it does offer information about its subscription service in English, German, Spanish and Italian, in addition to French. La Poste also accepts payments made with Visa or Mastercard.

Salon du Livre de Jeunesse

Press, publications, books, CD-ROMs; 150 exhibitors and over 700 authors and illustrators - a salon featuringposter: salon livre de jeunesse not only comics even if everything is all for the kids. French publishing shows off its kids-stuff, with a show worth a visit.

Montreuil, in Seine-Saint- Denis; métro: Mairie de Montreuil. Open Wednesday, 25 and Thursday, 26. November, from 9:00 to 18:00; Friday, 27. November, from 9:00 to 21:00; Saturday, 28. November, from 9:00 to 19:00; Sunday, 29. November, from 10:00 to 19:00; and Monday, 30. November, from 9:00 to 18:00. Info. Entry for 14 and over: 20 francs; under 14, free. Tel.: 01 55 86 86 55.

The Peony Pavillon

This is a 'detail' from the ongoing 'Festival d'Automne' and it is at MC 93 Bobigny - in Seine-Saint-Denis again! - production. Along with it being an 'Italian Autumn' in Paris, it is also a bit of an oriental one.

Thus 'Peony Pavillon' has a Chinese author - Tang Xianzu - an English translator - Cyril Circh - with music by Tan Dun, and the director is Peter Sellars; who I am pretty sure is French. In very tiny print, a note says it is in Chinese and English, with French 'over-titles,' whatever these may be. This may beposter: opera peony pavillon Chinese opera as many of the performers are Chinese and some of them are tenors. Two of the musicians are Chinese too.

It must be a big deal because 'Peony Pavillon' is a co-production with the Weiner Festwochen and the Barbican Centre in London, plus an outfit in Berkeley named Cal Performances.

This show runs from Friday, 4. December until Monday, 22. December. Call the Info. Tel.: 01 41 60 72 72 for the information I lack - such as times, prices, address and the exact location of the Ville de Bobigny, which sounds so familiar and I know it is in the department of Seine-Saint-Denis, but cannot find it on a map, even though I've boosted this MC 93 Bobigny theatre before. Where are you, Bobigny?

Frank! Zappa!

Old Frank may not have much in common with Paris except some fans living here, but on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of his death, the Ville de Paris Bibliothèque Faidherbe is putting on an exhibition of some 'documents' loaned by the 'Fils d'Invention,' an association of Frank Zappa fans. The address of this library is 18.-20. rue Faidherbe, Paris 11. Métro: Faidherbe-Chaligny. Info. Tel.: 01 43 71 71 16.

L'Idiot

Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky wrote to his nieceposter: l'idiot in 1869 to say he thought this story might be a total failure - with a near seven-week run booked for it, it looks like the producers think otherwise.

Adapted by André Barsacq and directed by Jacques Mauclair and Gérard Gaillaud; with Emmanuel Decharte, Françoise Thuriès, Gérard Ortéga and Bérengère Dautun.

Théâtre 14 J. M. Serreau
20. avenue Marc Sangnier, Paris 14. Métro: Porte de Vanves. From Tuesday, 24. November to Sunday, 10. January. Info. Tel.: 01 45 45 49 77.

Paris' Mois de la Photo - 10th Edition

This annual event kicked off late last month, starting with Edmond Bacot and Olivier Mériel's photos of Victor Hugo, which can be seen at the Maison de Victor Hugo in the Place des Vosges, until 24. January 1999.

Photos for Kids: - 'Un Galion au Téléobjectif' features the photos of Philippe Illesco, with a contest which runs for the duration of this expo, until Saturday, 28. November; at the Bibliothèque Lancry, 11. rue Lancry, Paris 10. Métro: République or Jacques-Bonsergent.

Photos and Books for Kids: - originals of photos or sculptures done to illustrate children's books, by authors such as Franck Horvat, Véronique Willemin, Joëlle Leblond and Nathalie Rizzoni. There is another exhibition at he same time and place, which is made especially for kids, with the photos being mounted at correct heights - conceived by Esther Woedehoff and the Galerie Falguière 36. See 'La Princesse du Cirque' by Diane Arbus.


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