American (Movie Classics) in Paris

Aerosol Hitchcock

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I had a variety of aspirations – and as much of a plan to realize them as my 8-year old’s mind could devise.

I wanted to be an actress, so I enrolled in summer acting classes, decided I’d go to Yale Drama School and tried to discern if I were more suited to film or the stage.

I also wanted to “save the world” a la Ghandi or MLK but I didn’t yet know my big cause. Maybe my travels as a National Geographic photographer would help me find my calling, I reasoned.

Writer must have been in there somewhere, too, though I never named it (I had trouble calling myself a writer even then.) It was nothing I could explain, but I much preferred sitting behind my mother’s electronic typewriter tapping out stories than running around the yard to play. (I also started reading Stephen King novels in first grade – yeah, I was kind of a weird kid).

My most well thought-out plan, however, was to host American Movie Classics.

Yay, little arthouse movie theater

Who knows how I first got hooked on old movies, but from the time I could see I sat spellbound by AMC. There was a time when I watched at least one movie a day, and I never thought anything missing from a good black and white flick (not even color). Screwball comedies, film noir – these were some of the most beloved images from my childhood.

This love also brought with it my first feelings of jealousy (shame these are so often paired). Why did Bob Dorian get to introduce the films? How did someone get such a plum job?

It came to me that I should really be the one in that chair.

I’d make a really great AMC host for several pertinent reasons, my imaginary letter to the classic film channel began (did I know the word pertinent when I was 8? Ok, maybe not).

Not only did I have a vast knowledge of classic films, but I could also help the station expand their viewership. How many young, mixed-race kids did they have working for them? None, I supposed. Think of it! I could convince whole new demographics of the coolness of classic films. I’d be the new face of our film heritage.

I’m not sure why I never followed up on this career path – I think I was onto something.

Action Ecoles, purveyor of classic film

I was recently reminded of my youthful obsession last week when I stumbled across Action Ecoles in the 5th. The sign stopped by heart – an Alfred Hitchcock film everyday in version originale! Hitchcock is my man. I think I would die of grief if I ever had to watch his films dubbed.

For any of you other old movie fans, Cinema Action might just be what you’re looking for. Two locations – 4 Rue Christine, 6eme and 23 Rue des Ecoles, 5eme – and what looks like a pretty kick-ass rotation of classic films.

I haven’t been to either yet, but it makes me happy just knowing that I can. Hooray for serendipitous discoveries.

Check out their website for more details. (I bemoan my advancing years if only because I’m not eligible for the Carte Cine Passion which lets those under 26 in for 3 euros per screening. The Carte Fidelite also looks like a good deal, though – 45 euros for 10 screenings. Glad to know there’s something for us old folks).

What did you want to be when you grew up? (Did you follow the dream?)

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14 Responses to “American (Movie Classics) in Paris”


  1. 1 Little Miss Cupcake June 8, 2010 at 11:15 am

    Oh, good tip! I too am a huge AMC junkie. Glad to know we can get our fix in VO here in Paris.

    And yes, in response to your question…it took me a long time to get here but I am in fact living my dream!

    • 2 paris (im)perfect June 8, 2010 at 11:25 am

      Hello fellow junkie! Yes, isn’t it great there’s a place to get our fix? Speaking of which…I think I need a cupcake, too :) Another one of my addictions.

      That is so, so wonderful to know that you are living your dream! May we all have the courage and perseverance to do the same!

  2. 3 Res June 8, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    I’ll join you for a Hitchcock one of these days, if you’re keen!
    When I was little, I wanted to write a biography of my best friend who was going to be a famous violinist…

    Not quite living my dream yet!

    • 4 paris (im)perfect June 8, 2010 at 6:30 pm

      Res – I am keen. Seems like the perfect activity for what looks like an upcoming run of rainy days.

      Also, quitting your job and writing a book (wait, you’re basically *finished* writing it, right??) is pretty darn close to living the dream. Seems to me, at least. I mean, you couldn’t wait til your friend became famous before taking your first crack at it, right? :)

  3. 5 pariskarin June 10, 2010 at 8:26 am

    I’m still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up (lol), but I do remember one of the things I wanted to be was just like Jane Goodall — you know, the scientist that worked with chimpanzees. And then I wanted to write about it. I think I also wanted there to be a job where I could be a professional reader. In fact, I am pretty surprised I never became a librarian, but I guess life had other plans.

    I love old movies, too — especially anything with Cary Grant or Katherine Hepburn. I love “The Philadelphia Story” because they are both in it, and Jimmy Stewart to boot! Great stuff.

    Your theater story reminds me of the chapters in “Me Talk Pretty One Day” where David Sedaris spends his time in Paris in movie theaters, and in ones just like the one you wrote about here. Good to know the location of the Cinema Action!

    • 6 paris (im)perfect June 10, 2010 at 1:09 pm

      I’m still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.

      Yeah, I think that pretty much hits the nail on the head. My mom (a librarian, incidentally!) always says maybe she’ll figure it out for her next life.

      Have you seen “Bringing up Baby,” the Howard Hawks flick with Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn? I think that’s my favorite film starring the two of them. Bonus is that it has a leopard (named Baby!) in it – might appeal to the animal-lover in you :)

      Hey, that’s pretty cool that *anything* I write could remind you of David Sedaris. Maybe I’m following him without even realizing it. We’ve both got the North Carolina – New York – Paris thing going on. Now, if only I were funny… :)

      • 7 pariskarin June 10, 2010 at 2:18 pm

        “Bringing Up Baby” is delightful. Yes, I’ve seen that one a few times. It’s just great!

        Funny thing about animals. I don’t really like them, lol. I don’t know *what* I was thinking as a kid, wanting to be like Jane. I think it was just something about her manner that I admired, and she was a great example of a (rare at that time) woman scientist/researcher back in those early and mid-1970s. I like cats all right, but I hate cleaning up after pets in general, and I am really not that keen on dogs or fish or lizards, and not horses or other farm and ranch critters… No, zoologist is not one of the careers I would have chosen.

        You are funny. :) Okay, maybe not in that *exact* snarky Sedaris belly-laughing-while-you’re-reading-or-listening way, but then I think most people would be hard pressed to be THAT funny. We need him to be that way for us, and he is damn good at it, huh. When I think of your writing, I think of erudite, confident, and very well-researched. Smooth. Very witty. You definitely have the movie thing in common with David. Now you just need a home in a village in the the north of France! And weird neighbors there! And a totally whack childhood! Oh, and you like men, too, so there’s also that. ;-)

        Take care, Sion. :)

  4. 8 paris (im)perfect June 10, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    Thanks, Karin. Wow, who needs to be funny when I’m all those other things? That’s the nicest comment ever (notice, people? I wasn’t fishing for compliments, but I certainly *do* like them). :)

    I hear you on the Jane Goodall thing. Strong pioneering women in any field inspire. Kind of bad because I always think of Sigourney Weaver in “Gorillas in the Mist” when I hear the name Goodall (which is bad because the movie was actually about Dian Fossey… and also just a movie!)

    Ok, so you don’t know what you want to do, but at least you’ve ruled out one career. That’s a start. Zoologist – scratch. I’ve whittled my list down that way, too.

    Take care. :)

  5. 9 Marianne Renoir June 13, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    This is my favourite cinema in Paris. I remember back in 2005 when I was on holidays in Paris for more than a month, on some days I would see two movies in one day there! There’s also the Grand Action down the road which often has some good stuff too but I really prefer this little one!

  6. 11 Kasia June 20, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    The key is to remember what we loved to do most as children… And to follow that dream. Mine is a WIP. More on that in a post coming soon!

    I just discovered Cinema Action last night!! And I too love Hitchcock :)

  7. 12 Carole July 13, 2010 at 4:39 am

    Have you seen Holdiay with Hepburn and Grant? It is even better than Bringing Up Baby. Near the Rue Christine theatre is the restaurant Fajitas. I highly recommend it.


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paris (im)perfect?

Sion Dayson is paris (im)perfect. Writer, dreamer, I moved to France on – no exaggerating – a romantic whim. As you can imagine, a lot can go wrong (and very right!) with such a (non)plan. These are the (im)perfect stories that result.

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