Posts Tagged 'cinema'

Lost in Frenchlation

The screening room at Studio 28. Photo courtesy of Lost in Frenchlation.


I arrived in Paris, just in time for a heatwave and the last round of legislative voting.

I also finally made it to an event I’ve been invited to for well over a year.

Rarely do I make plans for the same day I land (jetlag, anyone?), but the evening’s opportunity was too good to pass up.

The garden tea room at Cinema Studio 28. Photo courtesy of Lost in Frenchlation.

Lost in Frenchlation has a simple mission: bring renowned French films to a broader audience by screening French films with English subtitles.

The Franco-Australian pair behind Lost in Frenchlation, Manon and Matt. Photo courtesy of Lost in Frenchlation.

When you think about it, the idea makes total sense. Film is such an important part of French culture and there are so many international folks in Paris. Unless you’re completely fluent, it can be difficult to follow a movie in your non-native tongue. Lost in Frenchlation allows easier access to current French films, as well as providing a convivial cocktail before or after for a full social night.

Events are held at Studio 28, the oldest screening room in Paris.

I was happy to get a chance to check out LIF, whose popularity has grown quickly. They were right about there being quite a market for their offerings! (Lost in Translation is currently nominated for “best reoccurring event in Paris” by Expatriates Magazine. The young organization had also just held their first event in London the previous night.)

I admit it was the specific film and event that had me particularly intrigued and gave me the energy to fight the fatigue upon my arrival to attend.

On Friday, June 16, the film on tap was Le Concours, a documentary about the strenuous entrance exam to La Fémis, one of the most prestigious film schools in the world. The director of the film, Claire Simon, was on hand afterward for a Q&A.

The film’s trailer, (only available in French – see why Lost in Frenchlation is needed?)

Le Concours was great – I could do a whole separate post about the movie itself! But needless to say it’s quite an experience to get a truly inside look at the highly competitive selection process of such an institution (A thousand candidates applied for 60 spots).

A clip from the film – *with* English subtitles!

The film lends itself to all kinds of juicy questions about art, subjectivity, inequality, and elitism. (Simon made a compelling remark in the Q&A about France “constantly recreating a gentry” – whoa, we could dig into that one for ages!).

Continue reading ‘Lost in Frenchlation’

Printemps du Cinema/Seeing Spring

Here’s another perk of living in Paris (or in this case, anywhere in France). Every March for three days, all cinema tickets across the country are only 3.50 euros. For any film, at any time, new release or not. This annual event is called “Le Printemps du Cinema.” Me likey.

Yesterday I went to see “The King’s Speech.” Yes, I’m one of the last people on earth to see this film, but I think I was rewarded for my waiting strategy.

You can imagine that with the 3.50 price tag, going to the movies suddenly strikes a lot of people as a good idea. There can often be long lines during these three days. Pick a flick that’s been out forever, though (and even better, go at an off-hour if you can), you’re more likely to beat the crowds.

And so I did. I slid right in, saw a great movie, and waltzed right back out, all for less than the price of a good hot chocolate (a key cost comparison).

On a random note, as I was leaving the theater, I was nearly knocked over the head with this reality: whoa! Paris is beautiful!

Avenue Carnot - Étoile

Oh, wait. That’s not original, is it? Let me clarify. I’m near-sighted and spend almost all day in front of a computer for which I don’t need my glasses. And I practically never wear my glasses out. Eh, I can see what’s in front of me, who needs to see far away, right?

I wear them when I go to the movies, though, and I kept them on as I was exiting the theater. And then I realized just how bad my eyesight must be, because the city seemed to be blazing with beauty – on fire with it, now that I could see clearly. I felt like I was in a film.

So, I guess I better admit that I’m getting older, eyesight’s growing poorer, and just wear my glasses more often. In return, the City of Light will delight me anew. Priceless.

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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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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