The First Art Newspaper on the Net Established in 1996 United States Friday, April 25, 2014


Exploring One of Paris' Most Exceptional Attractions: Cinemas
The Champo theater in Paris. In Paris, there are seemingly endless rues and quais and museums and cafes to explore, which means visitors often hurry past one of the city's greatest attractions: its cinemas. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon.

By: Jake Coyle, AP Entertainment Writer

PARIS (AP).- It may seem backward to travel to one of the most beautiful cities in the world and sit in the dark.

In Paris, there are seemingly endless rues and quays and museums and cafes to explore, which means visitors often hurry past one of the city's greatest attractions: its cinemas.

They're found throughout the French capital — and in particular the Latin Quarter. No city in the world boasts such a bevy of independent theaters, where vibrant repertory series and exciting selections play nightly.

New York might quibble, but most of its independent theaters long ago shuttered. Manhattanites can proudly claim the essential Film Forum, but Parisians can stand on the Left Bank and have nearly a dozen similar options within a five-minute walk.

Spending an entire trip among flickering projections would, of course, be extreme. But it does occasionally rain in Paris and sometimes a cool night at the movies is just the ticket after a day of traipsing around the attractions. And, unlike many destinations in Paris, no one — or perhaps everyone — is a tourist at the movies.

Your first move is to pick up your moviegoing Bible: the weekly Pariscope, which can be had for less than a euro at any newsstand. In it, you'll find a detailed listing of every showing that week. It's in French, but addresses, movie titles and show times are easily understood.

A key point: V.O. signifies version original (with French subtitles), whereas V.F. means version francais (dubbed in French). Now, if your French is poor, you are limited to movies in English, but this is only a slight impediment. Great, old American movies are plentiful and the odds are good that at any moment, a flick with Humphrey Bogart or Woody Allen is showing somewhere is Paris. As with jazz, the French are ardent celebrators of American filmmaking.

This is, after all, a birthplace of cinema. Here, it is the seventh art. So some history is in order, which means a trip to the Cinematheque Francaise.

Any film buff is well aware of the Cinematheque's significance: Formed from Henri Langlois collection in the '30s, its archives and constant screenings have long served as a kind of home base for Paris' film scene. Many of the famed directors of the New Wave, like Francois Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard, gathered here, though you can't imbibe this history from its original location. It moved in 2005 to a beautiful, curvaceous building designed by architect Frank Gehry on Parc de Bercy in the 12th arrondissement.

Aside from several fine, modern theaters at the Cinematheque, you can also find the Musee du Cinema, which includes some truly magical artifacts from the history of cinema: Louis Lumiere's 35mm projector, Thomas Edison's kinetoscope, Robert Wiene's expressionist sketches for "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari," a copy of the robot Maria from "Metropolis" made for the museum, and much more.

There are also rotating exhibits at the museum, and the collections — film excerpts, stills and props — will surely whet your movie appetite.

Turning to your Pariscope newspaper, the advice is simple: Follow the movies. See what's playing and go after what intrigues you.

I, for one, generally seek out the great films of the '40s and '50s, some of which found artistic renown through the French. The famed French film magazine Cahiers du Cinema, co-founded by Andre Bazin, was essential to trumpeting the artistry of American genre filmmakers like Howard Hawks and Nicholas Ray.

This is one reason Paris may be the best place to see a film noir, in all its black-and-white, moody, fatalistic grandeur. The films might feature fast-talking detectives in Los Angeles, but a film noir feels most at home in Paris.

The selection on any given week in Paris is usually exceptional. A recent week, for example, boasted an Alfred Hitchcock series, a new print of the Clark Gable-Marilyn Monroe film "The Misfits" (1961), an Al Pacino series, Charles Laughton's "The Night of the Hunter" (1955), the fabulous but lesser known noir "Fallen Angel" (1945), Bogart's "The Enforcer" (1951), Robert Mitchum in 1947's "Crossfire," Sydney Lumet's "The Offense" (1972), the new, touring print of Michael Powell's "The Red Shoes" (1948) and much more.

You'll quickly notice some differences to the Parisian moviegoing style. Show times are often listed for when the ads and trailers start and for when the film actually begins. Popcorn is not something generally eaten at the art house cinemas: Moviegoing is serious business.

Certain theaters are worth seeking out. Le Champo, on the rue des Ecoles, is perhaps the quintessential Parisian art house cinema. First opened in 1938, its survival has at times depended on the support of protesters refusing to allow closure.

If you don't like the selections there, you can always try one of the other fine theaters around the block on rue Champollion. Many of Paris' independent theaters are only a stone's throw from here, including the nicely programmed Action Ecoles. After a movie at the Champo, walk up the hill for a drink outside at one of the cafes on the pleasant, restful Place de la Sorbonne.

One of the oldest cinemas in Paris is the Studio des Ursulines, near the Jardin du Luxembourg on the rue des Ursulines. It was built on the site of a Ursuline convent from the 1600s, and made into a silent film art house in 1926. It now shows first-run movies, but its plush red interior is hard to beat.

On the Right Bank, Cinema Mac-Mahon will always be dear to me, since it was where I first saw "Taxi Driver" on the big screen. It sits in the shadow of the Arc de Triomphe, just off the Place Charles de Gaulle.

Studio 28, opened in 1938, is a lovely Montmartre theater and a good destination for "Amelie" fans. This is the place the beloved film's heroine frequented, (and she did chomp on popcorn). If you can, time your visit to coincide with sunset, and from the top of Montmartre watch the lights turn on across Paris as the city dims.

There are other unique theaters, too, like the Pagoda on the rue de Babylone in the 7th arrondissement. True to its name, it's styled after a Japanese temple. If you want a more modern view of Parisian moviegoing, try one of the MK2 theaters. The MK2 Bibliotheque at the Francois Mitterand National Library on the Quai de Seine, has 14 theaters and a futuristic vibe.

The Grand Rex is a movie palace built in 1932 and its main auditorium can seat nearly 3,000. The biggest theater in Paris, it's a common spot for flashy premieres, so the selection is typically first-run films. Its exquisite Art Deco design gives it a fantastical aura, like a grand, fairy-tale cinema.

All of these theaters beam out wondrous films every night. As you exit to the street rubbing your eyes, you might think that the best part of all about moviegoing in Paris is that the city awaiting you outside is hardly less of a dream than the movies.


Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

Cinemas | Paris' Most Exceptional Attractions | Cinematheque Francaise |


Today's News

August 18, 2010

Metropolitan Museum Announces Pablo Picasso Exhibition Drew 700,000 Visitors in 17 Weeks

Australia's Greatest Rock'n'Roll Band Comes to the Powerhouse Museum

Art Loss Register Recovers Three High-Value, Historic Coins

Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library to Open in Indianapolis

Norton Simon Museum to Present Raphael's The Small Cowper Madonna

Important Early Photographs of Yokohama by Father of Photo Journalism for Sale

Contemporary Jewish Museum to Show Rarely Seen Old Master Paintings

National Gallery of Australia Unveils Monumental James Turrell 'Skyspace'

Dusseldorf's Quadriennale 2010 to Present Exhibition by Joseph Beuys

Exploring One of Paris' Most Exceptional Attractions: Cinemas

Astonishing Prices for Redpaths on Opening Day of Bonhams Scottish Sale

Afghan Archaeologists Find Buddhist Site as War Rages

Twelve Rare Works of Art to Be Shown Together for the First Time

Masterworks of N. C. Earthenware Comes to The Milwaukee Art Museum

Leeds Horse Sets Pace for Bonhams Ceramic Sale in London

Antony Gormley's Critical Mass at De La Warr Pavilion Extended

For Auction Houses All that Glitters isn't Gold, Some of It is Wine

Freeman's Auctioneers to Hold Inaugural Auction of Pop Culture and Memorabilia

Dallas Contemporary Announces Membership for Young Supporters

Cut It, Fold It, Build It with Paper at the V&A Museum of Childhood

RM Makes History on Monterey Peninsula with Top Sales and Top Honor

INAH Adds Up to Commemorations by Improving Museums

Storm Thorgerson's Album Covers on View at San Francisco Art Exchange

Treasures of Kazakhstan to Take Centre Stage in London

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Newly discovered Imperial Fabergé Easter egg: A critical note from a Fabergé collector

2.- Tate opens most comprehensive exhibition ever devoted to Matisse's paper cut-outs

3.- First North American survey of the work of Ai Weiwei opens at Brooklyn Museum

4.- The importance of sky studies in landscape art is the subject of the first exhibition in a new Morgan series

5.- Beautiful Bentleys and a 'Rambo Lambo' amongst highlights for sale at Bonhams

6.- Retrospective is the first to encompass Sigmar Polke's works across all mediums

7.- Exhibition presents 100 top-class masterpieces from the collection of the Albertina

8.- Lost treasure found after almost 100 years: Wartski exhibits missing Fabergé egg

9.- Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles acquires a rare 16th century "Book of Friends"

10.- Exhibition of masterpieces from the Austrian Habsburg dynasty brings imperial splendor to the U.S.

Related Stories



Exploring One of Paris' Most Exceptional Attractions: Cinemas



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 

Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Rmz. - Marketing: Carla Gutiérrez
Special Contributor: Liz Gangemi - Special Advisor: Carlos Amador
Contributing Editor: Carolina Farias

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org theavemaria.org juncodelavega.org facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site