Discover 10 films to know Paris without clichés

After a month of media talk about the October launch on Netflix, Emily in Paris, with Lily Collins, many people continue to wonder what the hype and truths are behind the Parisian clichés and magic. As a result of this debate, CinePOP offers another look at the French capital from a list of films in the City of Light.

If French critics have repudiated the stereotypes advocated by the American production, while the public watched with enthusiasm, we present other ways of seeing the Seine and admiring the Eiffel Tower. It should be noted that the Emily à Paris series remains in the Netflix TOP 10 in several countries after a month, including in France. In other words, the old dispute between New York and Paris continues. In fact, do you think that Paris, Je t’aime (2006) is better than New York, je t’aime (2008)?

Without further ado, let’s move on to the list of films to discover Paris, comfortably installed on your sofa, in the most varied genres and eras.

Commissioned by the Italian Bernardo Bertolucci, the work Os Sonhadores takes us to Paris in 1968, a time when young people took to the streets in appeal for social, sexual and civil rights. In this scenario, brothers Isabelle (Eva Green) and Theo (Louis Garrel) welcome American student Matthew (Michael Pitt) to his home.

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Although they spend most of their time in the apartment, the three reconstruct a scene from Bando à Parte (1964), by Jean-Luc Godard, as they walk through the corridors of the Louvre. In addition to this emblematic sequence, the meeting between the three is full of references from the time and political discussions, in addition to the sexual awakening of young people. In the background, besides the museum, are the French Cinémathèque and the regions of the 1st, 8th and 16th arrondissements of Paris.

It should be remembered that this was Eva Green’s first feature film (The Journey).

9. Hounded (Breathless, 1960)

As already mentioned above, Jean-Luc Godard takes his camera to the streets, bars and hotels of Paris in the unconventional romance between a suspicious thief (Jean-Paul Belmondo) and an American journalism student (Jean Seberg) . Symbol of the New Wave, the film has a surprising plot, written by François Truffaut, and full of explanations on French expressions, since the curious student of the University of the Sorbonne wants to completely master the language of Molière.

Much of the action takes place on Avenue de Champ-Élysées, where the Arc de Triomphe is located at one end and Praça da Concórdia on the other side. The latter, emblematic of French history, is after all the place where Louis XIV was beheaded during the French Revolution. There are scenes on the Boulevard de Montparnasse and also on the George V metro. Besides being provocative, Acossado shows the most famous and historic side of Paris from a daily point of view.

8. Charade (Charade, 1963)

Considered the best Hitchcock movie he has ever made, Riddler is a suspense classic starring Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn in the French capital. Due to the atmosphere and the twists and turns, Staley Dolen’s film (Singing in the Rain) is seen as a work of the genius of suspense, however, much of that charm is supported by the scenic beauty of the shores of the Seine.

With passages through the royal palace garden, the famous theater of the Comédie-Française and the UNESCO headquarters, the narrative follows Regina Lampert (Hepburn) ‘s mission to find the fortune stolen by her late husband, while being pursued by several men with the same objective. Between one chase and another, it is possible to stroll and be enchanted by different districts of Paris.

Known for the trilogy Albergue Espanhol (2002), Bonecas Russas (2005) and The Chinese Enigma (2013), director Cédric Klapisch attempts to capture the multiple essence of Parisians in his lenses through dancer Pierre (Romain Duris). Struck by a terminal illness, the dancer follows the Parisian dance before his eyes from the balcony of his apartment. Based on this voyeuristic aesthetic, Klapisch’s screenplay follows different characters and lifestyles.

With a cast of French stars, such as Juliette Binoche (Double Vies), Mélanie Laurent (Inglourious Bastards) and François Cluzet (Les Intouchables), it is possible to follow the relationship of a student and her professor at the University of Sorbonne; fruit and vegetable vendors at the market in the town of Rungis, in the Paris suburbs; and a baker warned outside Montmartre, in the 18th arrondissement.

Anyway, there are a lot of stories and diverse landscapes, like the Catacombs of Paris on the 14th, the beautiful Bir-Hakeim bridge on the 15th, and the Opéra Garnier, located in the 9th arrondissement, by example.

The second film in Richard Linklater’s Before the Dawn (1995) trilogy features Celine (Julie Delpy) and Jesse (Ethan Hawke) in an unexpected reunion after nine years of events in Vienna, Austria. With plenty of talk to catch up on, the couple stroll through the streets of Paris revealing corners of the region. The adventure begins in the famous Shakespeare & Company bookstore, dedicated to English literature and founded in 1951 at the current location, however, the original dates from 1919.

From there, the couple wandered down a few streets towards the Pure Café, in the 11th arrondissement. In reality, the drive between the two is 3.5 km, but the geographic details do not interfere with the plot of the film. Like the long distance between the Seine and the Coulée Verte René-Dumont, also known as the Promenade Plantée (in free translation, Balade dans la Plantation). Little known to tourists, the place is an old train line of 4.7 km at a distance of 10 meters from the ground. In other words, a stroll in the 12th arrondissement of Paris, but with the silence of the heights.

In addition to places, Antes do Pôr-do-Sol is ideal for listening to the conversation about life, the city and the stereotypes between an American and a Parisian. Julie Delpy is one of the writers of the Oscar nominated feature film.

5. Midnight in Paris (Midnight in Paris, 2011)

If falling in love with Paris is possible, Woody Allen is the closest filmmaker to present this intoxicating effect. In a convergence between today’s Paris and that of the 1920s, writer Gil (Owen Wilson) attempts to seek inspiration and answers for his relationship with his future wife Inez (Rachel McAdams). In this playful journey through time, he takes us through the streets of Montmartre and on several quays along the Seine, such as the Quai des Orfèvres, located on the Île de la Cité.

Besides Paris, the writer takes us to cities a few hours away, such as Versailles, seat of the palace of Louis XIV and Marie-Antoinette until the start of the French Revolution in 1789; and Giverny, where the house and gardens are immortalized in the paintings of Claude Monet. However, you don’t have to go back in time to get the same impressions as the movie. For example, do you remember the bicycle carousel that Marion Cotillard’s character presents at the Fitzgeralds party? The scene was filmed at the Musée des Arts Forains, open doors in the Bercy region, in the 12th arrondissement.

Directed by filmmaker Danièle Thompson (cousin, cousin), this dramatic comedy tells the story of young Jessica (Cécile de France), a newcomer from the French countryside to Paris with the dream of living in the luxurious world of contact with her Grandmother. She thus obtained a job as a waitress on the very trendy avenue Montaigne, next to the Champ-Elysée, that is to say the most expensive square meter in the city, and began to follow the movement of the Parisian bourgeoisie.

In this environment of luxury and exuberance, Um Lugar na Plateia presents the glamor of the Théâtre des Champ-Elysées and the Hôtel Plaza Athénée, and of course the opulence of the Arc de Triomphe as a backdrop. As a waitress, Jessica will meet artists and their dilemmas, while dreaming of her own moment of becoming someone in the crowd. As much of the film takes place in a cafe, brew your cup to hear the story of French life of an actress, art collector and pianist, among other residents of Paname, the French nickname of the city.

Responsible for projecting Audrey Tautou to the world, Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s scarlet fable presents the minimalist pleasures of young Amélie. Coming from a rather particular family of the countryside, that is to say of the countryside, the young girl decides to discover the seduction of Paris. Living in an apartment in the Montmartre region, she works at the Café Les Deux Moulin, which has become a tourist spot in the region. As well as the Canal de Saint Martin, between the 10th and 11th arrondissements, where it blows stones on the surface of the water.

Although these are the film’s most prominent locations, the production spends a lot of time at the city’s train and metro stations. It should be noted that it is difficult to live – or simply to visit – Paris and not to take underground public transport, because it completely connects the city to all the neighboring municipalities. The great mystery of the feature film takes place exactly at the immense Gare de L’est, as well as in the Strasbourg-Saint-Denis (lines 4, 8 and 9), Abbesses (line 2), Porte de la Chapelle and Lamarck subways. -Caulaincourt (both lines 12).

2. Paris, I love you (Paris, Je t’aime, 2006)

Understanding the complexity and charm of Paris was the start of the Cities of Love project (made up of New York, Rio de Janeiro, Tbilisi and Berlin) by producer Emmanuel Benbihy. With 20 exciting short films in different parts of the city, it is possible to visit several historic and prestigious bastions. However, two segments in particular should be highlighted to feel the city’s profusion.

Directed by Tom Tykwer (Run, Lola, Run), the episode Faubourg Saint-Denis, in the 10th arrondissement, presents the erosion of the relationship between Francine (Natalie Portman) and Thomas (Melchior Derouet). As the tale progresses, we observe the locations of Gare du Nord and Gare de l’Est stations, in addition to the beautiful Porte Saint-Denis and Porte Saint-Martin, two of the four Arches de Triomphe in Paris. The other two are: the Jardin des Tuileries, next to the Louvre, and the most famous at the end of the Champ-Elysée.

The second highlight is led by Alexander Payne (Nebraska). The 14th arrondissement segment shows the love of an American tourist (Margo Martindale) by making her dream of visiting Paris come true. Yet, alone in the City of Light, she walks the streets, observing people and recently had this experience alone, while celebrating this emotion. The iconic final image takes place on the shore of Parc Montsouris, magnificent for the diversity of trees and birds, in addition to the hidden Little Belt of Paris.

1. The misunderstood (Le 400 Coups, 1959)

Forerunner of the Nouvelle Vague movement, François Truffaut presents in his first film as a director the development of a young man in a decadent and proletarian Paris, well before the revolution of 1968. The story follows the character of Antoine Doinel (Jean- Pierre Léaud), a 14 year old boy with constant problems at school and little attention from his parents. The three live in a small studio on the Place de Clichy, where the boy sleeps on the sofa between the living room and the kitchen, for lack of space. One day, Antoine decides to miss school and begins an avalanche of lies and thefts.

The boy walks the streets of Pigalle, a prostitution area next to the cabaret district of Montmartre, until he is sent to a reformatory. In other words, this work contemplates the decadent part of Parisian society, which is also a way of knowing its history and its construction. With a redemptive ending for the young transgressor, the initial image of the Eiffel Tower is symbolic in this plot of dream and despair.

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