Monday, March 06, 2006

Paris au Cinema

Well, the long weekend in Paris was a good’un. I can’t believe I’ve been in London for almost nine years and not taken the short train ride over. Next time will be much sooner. Heck, it might even be in the next couple of months. There’s an ace-looking exhibition on at the Hotel de Ville called Paris au Cinema, which basically looks at Paris’ starring role in movies, past and present. I know because I flicked through the accompanying book in the bookshop at the Centre Pompidou. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to go, so I may well have to go back to see it. Any excuse will do. It’s a fine city.

I’m not going into holiday snaps ‘n’ stories mode now, except to say that I was really impressed by how much the Parisians seem to love their films. I was pleasantly struck by just how many small independent cinemas there are dotted round Paris city centre. Some only have one screen. There used to be a load of these in London in the past, but there is only a handful now.

The other thing I was struck by was the queues outside cinemas. Firstly the wee one-screen place round the corner from our hotel had a queue outside at 11am on Saturday. Then we went to see Syriana on Saturday night at a cinema on Boulevard St Germain, and had to do battle with huge queues that formed for every film they were showing. And it was the same story at the cinema across the road. Impressive. I’ve never queued like that in London in all my cinema-going time here.

And finally, there is a very healthy amount of French film on show, even in the UGCs and the like. It’s at least 40% French movies a friend told me on Saturday. I wish that British films were even partially represented like that at the UK box offices. I’m sure it’s to do with government funding, but I do long for the day when there is a decent choice of good British films in any week (and I mean properly British as opposed to our actors in American movies, or produced here with US money). Until then I’ll probably go on seeing more French movies in any given year than British ones.

Oh OK then, here's one from the family album...

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