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Paris vu par Hollywood

Directed by Antoine de Baecque

We still have Paris, Humphrey Bogart languishes in Casablanca. The attraction of Hollywood for the French capital is nothing new and this book that accompanied an exhibition at the Hôtel de Ville in the fall of 2012 tells it all, from Griffith to Woody Allen. In his introduction, Antoine de Baecque estimates that some eight hundred American movies have chosen the city of lights as a setting. Some are real classics, such as Ninotchka by Lubitsch with Greta Garbo, or An American in Paris by Minnelli, with Leslie Caron and Gene Kelly. How was this imaginary city built, how did it contribute to convey certain stereotypes (the bistrot, the women of small virtues, the caustic wit), how did it mold certain interpreter-types like Maurice Chevalier or Audrey Hepburn? These are the questions the book’s authors explore. One of the fascinating aspects are the meticulous reconstitutions, as in Irma la douce by Billy Wilder, which brings to life the shady Halles market, without one single scene being shot in Paris...

Paris Hollywood, Skira Flammarion, 2012, 288 p., €45 (in French).

Paris vu par Hollywood - Directed by Antoine de Baecque

Review published in the newsletter #327 - from 19 December 2013 to 8 January 2014

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