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Season Wrapup

photo: liberation parade, flag dress

Part of one of the Libération parades last Wednesday.

Endless Boring TV Again

Paris:– Monday, 30. August 2004:– All the figures aren't in yet because all the shows aren't over, but it seems like summer in Paris was a big hit despite the tricky weather. What worked especially well were all the free events – like Paris Plage – and the outdoor cinemas, like the one out at La Villette.

The season began with 'Paris Cinéma' which projected 400 movies and drew 97,000 viewers tophoto: liberation jeep, picnic 30 cinemas as well as to outdoor screenings in the Luxembourg gardens and at the parvis of the Hôtel de Ville. At the cinemas the price was right at 4€ per film, which is about half the usual entry price.

Jeeps have always made good picnic tables.

The month–long 'Quartier d'Eté' festival steadily drew tens of thousands of spectators, even to the less comprehensible productions. The free part of the varied program attracted an estimated 80,000.

The Fnac bandstand on Paris Plage put 26 groups on stage at the rate of two concerts per weekend, each time drawing between 2000 and 3000 to hear the indie bands. Records were set by the groups like 'Ogres de Barback' and 'Comeille' with Louis Chedid.

Attendance was huge at La Villette both for the music at 'Scènes d'Eté' that began in mid–July and the outdoor movies on the 'prairie.' Brian de Palma's 'Scarface' set a record on 30. July when 18,000 turned up to watch it under the stars. Rain canceled two only of the scheduled shows.

Other outdoors movies were shown in different locations around town, to slightly smaller audiences than last year. Up on Montmartre, 7500 turned up to see Jean–Luc Godard's 'Unephoto: motos, postmen Femme Est une Femme.'

Just about everything was finished this weekend just ended, except for the 'Tréteaux Nomades' festival. This one continues indoors at the Conservatoire Hector–Berlioz, 6. Rue Pierre–Bullet, Paris 10. Métro: Château–d'Eau. InfoTel.: 01 48 93 63 23.

Not even rain could halt the re– enactment.

All that's left now is the coming Journées du Patrimoine on the weekend of 18–19. September and the 'Nuit Blanche' on Saturday, 2. October. If you can't wait, catch this year's Roman version on Saturday, 18. September.

Boring TV Again

Unknown to the residents of a non–descriptive public–housing apartment building in the town of Châtellerault, an unremarkable town of 30,000 souls between Poitiers and Tours, one of their neighbors passed away quietly while watching television.

The event happened with so little drama that nobody noticed the missing 4th–floor neighbor until last Friday when a process–server attempted to collect outstanding rent and utility bills. Rent and utility bills unpaid for nearly two years.

The man, unidentified by police, had been 57 years old and unemployed. His neighbors, interviewed by France3 TV–news, said they weren't aware of their neighbor's absence. The man's skeleton wasphoto: liberation halftrack discovered in a lounging position in front of the TV set that had ceased when the power had been cut some time ago. His only companions were reported as being spiders.

Four Brownings and one TV camera in action.

A spokesman for the town hall, somewhat distressed, guessed that the unknown man had 'slipped through' the usual controls that beset everybody in France. There was no record of the dead man ever applying for welfare aid.

However, a postman who delivers mail to the building, said that he alerted postal authorities several times about the unemptied mail box in the building's lobby. There was some irony too, because a branch office of Châtellerault's social services is located in the same building.

Not mentioned in the news report on Friday was the name of the program the dead man had been watching at the end. Police investigating the incident did not suspect foul play.

Châtellerault, which is rarely mentioned on national news, was in the news last Wednesday too, when four youths were arrested that morning by police for degrading 14 tombs in the town's Antoigné cemetery the previous night. No racist or anti–semitic slogans were found in the Christian cemetery, but crosses and funeral plaques were vandalized.

Surprise Visit?

Right in the middle of tonight's TV–news, between kidnappings in the Middle East and shots of happy medal–bedecked athletes returning from the Olympics in Athens, actor Tom Cruise turned up on the small screen, shown paying a visit to the minister of the budget, finance and industry, Nicolas Sarkozy.

Apparently Mr. Cruise was taking some sort of pause while promoting his latest film, 'Collateral,' which will soon be a blockbuster boxoffice smash hit when it opens on hundreds of cinema screens in France.

The young lady who was interviewed on radio France–Info this morning could hardly have been lessphoto: liberation truck amused. She said getting her film shown in five cinemas throughout France will hardly ensure its success, but few films about women in Iran are all that popular anyway, especially if they can't be seen anywhere.

All for one and one for all.

According to the TV report, Mr. Cruise wanted to meet Monsieur Sarkozy because France favorite right–wing government minister gets a lot of press in the United States. The meeting had nothing to do with the fact that the ministry of finance has its own boat dock on the Seine and Mr. Cruise just happened to be using a stretch boat to get around.

Another report said that Mr. Cruise invited Monsieur Sarkozy to visit his ranch in Colorado. Monsieur Sarkozy graciously responded by inviting Mr. Cruise to visit his ranch inside the ministry of finance, which is rumored to measure 3000 square metres up on the top floors.

The reports also said the two had a 90–minute 'tour d'horizon,' which is diplo–speak for chit–chat. The reports did not say which language was used and it was impossible to tell from the TV images. Both men where shown smiling a lot, but Monsieur Sarkozy could certainly take some lessons from Mr. Cruise.

According to AP, Mr. Cruise told reporters at the Ritz that he wished he could make more movies becausephoto: liberation postmen he loves his job. He was quoted as saying that 'being a movie star is a blast.' TV–news showed a clip from his latest movie, 'Collateral,' which seemed to involve a dud bomb falling on a taxi cab, not mussing a white hair on the movie star's head.

Postmen, getting ready to join the parade.

TV–news also managed to show that neither of the two men need look down on each other because they are the same height, which is a lot shorter than Jacques Chirac. The Hollywood star was not asked if he would be seeking to play the French president in an upcoming movie. Other sources said he would by starring soon in H. G. Wells' 'War of the Worlds' and would possibly appear later in 'Mission Impossible 3' after 'Mission Impossible 2' has its video release in China.

All Libération parade photos, Wednesday, 25. August 2004.

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