In episode three of The France Project I take a closer look at the silver screen, from international movies set in Paris, to classic and modern French movies, as well as the culture of cinema in France.
In Part One I chat to Michael Schuermann, the author of Paris Movie Walks, and in Part Two I delve into the culture of French cinema with two French people: the actor and writer PH De Baecque, and the well-known Parisian blogger, Matoo. In Part Three PH and Matoo give me some recommendations of classic and culturally important French movies, and I think about a few of the more famous international movies set in France.
Part 1: international cinema
In the first part of this episode I chat with Michael Schuermann, author of Paris Movie Walks, which is both a guide book and iphone app which contains walking tours that lead you around many Parisian locations featured in the movies. He shares his thoughts on the great classics that have been filmed in Paris, along with some interesting behind-the-scenes secrets about famous movies, like an American in Paris with Gene Kelly, and we can’t avoid talking about the Queen of the Parisian movie, Audrey Hepburn! We talk extensively about why Paris makes such a great backdrop for international cinema, and discuss film locations at great length, from Two Days in Paris to French Kiss to The Bourne Identity.
Where we met: Le Soleil de la Butte – 32 rue Muller, 75018 Paris
Part 2: the culture of French cinema
In order to take a closer look at cinema culture in France, I start off Part Two by chatting to PH de Baecque, a French actor and writer who has a fascinating insider perspective on the industry and also happens to be a HUGE cinephile. We talk at length about whether France continues to play an important role in the international movie scene today, with influential actors and directors like Marion Cotillard and Luc Besson, and whether French movies are successfully tailoring themselves to international audiences whilst maintaining integrity for the local public. We chat about the various strengths and weakenesses of French cinema and the future of the medium in France.
Where we met: La Conserverie - 37 bis rue du Sentier, 75002 Paris
In order to get more insight about the importance of cinema in French culture, I enlisted the help of Parisian blogger Matoo. He explained how he learned about cinema while he was growing up, by watching famous programs like Le Cinéma de Minuit (read more here) and La Dernière Séance (read more here). We discuss whether the younger generations have the same affection for the classics, then get to talking about cinema as a tradition of art, and how things have changed over the years.
Where we met: Panfoulia - 7 rue Saint Croix de la Brétonnerie, 75004 Paris
Part 3: what to watch!
Finally, I asked both PH and Matoo to share their thoughts on their favourite French films (as well as films that are reprsentative of French culture), and discuss some listener favourites from Facebook – both French films and international films set in or about Paris. You can read the entire list of their recommendations here.
Full picture gallery
Music featured in this episode
- Free ride blues by André Bisson
- Four shots by André Bisson
- Mr Universe by Jennifer Cadence
- Disappear by David Steele
- Hostage by Anduze
- In a movie by Aisa Spade