Cinema and Paris: A Love Story

From Paris Blues to Midnight in Paris, not forgetting Last Tango in Paris… So many cinematic masterpieces were born on the streets of the capital!

In the background or as a central subject, Paris has always attracted and fascinated filmmakers from all over the world. Putting its movement, its sparkle, its darkness and its beauty at the disposal of artists who come to immortalise it on a reel. The city of light shows its fidelity to the filmmaker’s camera every time: sometimes bleak, sometimes romantic, sometimes magical. The monuments, the suburbs and the neighbourhoods create a certain atmosphere, guided, step by step, by the director. Since 1917, the period of silent cinema, Paris’ scenery has been shown in international cinema with The Darling of Paris by J. Gordon Edwards. Shot in a studio in Los Angeles, the film liberally adapts the famous Victor Hugo’s novel Notre-Dame de Paris.

For decades filmmakers have continued to declare their passion, making it today one of the most-filmed cities. But maybe the director’s love for Paris is just a response to the love that Paris itself has for cinema?

The attachment of Paris to cinema dates back to its origins. For it was at the Boulevard des Capucines, in the very heart of the city, that the first public cinema projection took place on December, 28th, 1895, by Antoine Lumière. Since then, cinemas have continued to multiply. So much so that the French capital can boast having the biggest number of screens per resident in the world. And even though recent years have seen the growth of big cinematographic companies, Paris fights for the existence of independent, experimental art cinema and for the conservation of its projection. Keep in mind that a big distributor is not the only way to see a film.

So that the talented artists can have a chance to share their art with the public, and so that the art of the cinema doesn’t reduce itself to a money issue. And so that this artistic expression can grow in all its diversity and originality: Independent cinema networks and international film festivals are organised all over the city, giving the seventh art the chance to be seen, to the great pleasure of the public. Paris has preserved a place for cinema in its cultural universe. Adding to it, besides everything else, its biggest international database ‘The Cinémathèque’, thus continuing the patrimony of the seventh art.

Yes, Paris loves cinema, as much as filmmakers love Paris. And the city will continue to illuminate them with a thousand lights, and this beautiful love story is far, very far from over.

Anne MARIE

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