Posts Tagged ‘paris’

Shot that stuck with me : Cory

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January – Maisons Laffitte under snow.

February – He who jumps off bridges in Paris is in Seine.

March – Arthur leaps skyward.

April – Cinque Terre, Italy. Hiking… it’s only walking… for 7 hours. Bring proper footwear and a bottle of water.

May – Sunset over North Lake, Grand Junction, Michigan.

June – Late night lights on the expressway, Chicago.

July – Urban spelunking, Gary, Indiana.

August – Bean time, Chicago.

September – Welcome to the new bookshop, Austin, Texas.

October – Dim lights for Halloween.

November – This caused injury. Most initiations do.

December – Five days of a white Christmas. New Years Day in short sleeves.

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late night chess… paris 11ème.

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In the early nineties, the town of Paris, Texas constructed a 65 foot replica of the Eiffel Tower. The tower attracted road trippers looking for the odd and out-of-place, as well as fit in nicely with the town’s occasional Bastille Day sidewalk sales.

After construction was completed, the town of Paris, Tennessee put up their own tower, theirs five feet taller, a massive 70 foot replica.

Texas, never to be belittled, out-shone, or messed with, did what they could to extend their tower to reach above 70 feet.

How do you get an already built tower to climb five more feet?

Their solution:

Photo taken from here.

Oh, Texas… Vast is my love.

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maya in paris.

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i drove a toyota corolla that isn’t mine into the texas state capital and before thirty hours were up I managed to slip in four films with my future roommate, combine that with a shot of guy talk and suddenly you know exactly how a well put together mise-en-scene can make 103 degrees outside seem like an early autumn.

lists should always be questioned yet scanning the top lines of one-through-tens is often our most efficient way of becoming conversational masters on a given subject without doing the back-work.

that being said, rent a couple of these, and just make sure your air conditioner is up for a challenge.  

i can guarantee this is back-work you won’t regret.

à boute de souffle (1960) – jean seberg 

if the stripped shirts don’t get you, that smile will.  if you ever wondered why the rates of high school female french students with pixie cuts is higher than their spanish counter parts, don’t necessarily look to amélie.  if starting a film movement, 1960s paris, a live-free-die-young mentality, and a bogie reference to melt hearts isn’t enough to get you watching, i’ll tell you this: at the end of the film, you’ll know why “new york harold tribune” could be a wet dream. (tps)

2046 (2004) – faye wong

i first remember faye wong in chungking express leaning over a counter and whispering “chicken salad.” she had me right there.  wong kar wai is in the very good habit of bolstering his already sumptuous images with actors who somehow manage to still be the focus of our attention.  wong takes on a number of roles in wai’s hk tribute- the dream android, the coy mistress, the unrequited lover- but all of that seem accessory to her precise touch and her perfect form.  the film tends to open around her, leaving enough rope for most actors to hang by, but finding wong unperturbed; she steps with a daring confidence through each vignette, serving as the welcome catalyst to a film never about her, but always reliant. (tvs)

how to steal a million (1966) – audrey hepburn

if her father in the film traffics replicas of art and beauty, he definitely created one statuette that will be good for the ages.  the lace clad legs, in my book, could get away with far more than just larceny. hepburn, though always worthy of admiration, adds in a sultry touch not necessarily worthy of an oscar nod, but definitely some toe curling. (tps)

une femme est une femme (1961) – anna karina

somehow godard’s most playful, uninhibited, and well-executed work is now relegated to the back-burner of this prodigious legacy.  but nowhere in the jlg canon can you find so perfect a symbiosis between the new wave star and his chosen muse.  karina’s performances go straight to the heart of what 1960s france has to offer a viewer- whether  running through the louvre or upholding the subversive element, giving androids a better name or singing the strip tease, karina is an exuberant and vivacious screen presence, addictive even to her most subtle pout.  she’s is on top of her game in femme, between her sailor suit, burnt roast, and book amalgams you’ll have a hard time making your first viewing your only one.  (tvs)

manon des sources (1986) – emmanuelle béart

as much as the 200 year old farm house and always nutritious mediterranean sun draws me back to the south of france, if this film were all i knew of my beloved country, i’d perhaps love it just as much. there must be something about french vowels that can make mouths shaped just so.  you gotta give it to any woman who can make a sequel more memorable than its first starring the french film god.  granted, this film came out in 1986 and should be every farm aide’s fantasy, just hopefully not taken to the extreme taken in the film (fabric should not be used that way), and even after 20 + years, the woman has shown some staying power.  still a french vogue cover girl (which often means a lot more skin than its tame american counter part), check out what an h&m ad looks like in france. (tps)

leri, oggi, domani (1963) – sophia loren

if you’re ever feeling fortunate, stop.  recollect the year 1963, remember than in it the insufferable marcello mastroaini scored not once, but twice on this list.  shortly after his stint tooling round with the lovely ms cardianale shotgun in his roadster marcello hopped the train to meet up with de sica and dive in to his next assignment: barking in bed while sophia loren gave him a tour of the room.  loren masters each sequence of the film (yesterday, today, and tomorrow for us inglesi) delivering with verve as the sympathetic call girl, the flighty superstar, and (especially!) and indomitable populist matron.  she throws herself into each sequence with a contagious abandon that leaves you at turns stunned, breathless. (tvs)

blow (2001) penelope cruz

hunter s. thompson, another face if jd, once said, “i hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they’ve always worked for me.”  thompson had it all, including the tragic ending, as did george jung in blow, with one added benefit… take a torrid affair between two of the darkest and smokiest out there and add in a few flash cuts of whips, cuffs and chains, and suddenly tragic endings seem oh so utterly worth it. (tps)

8 1/2 (1963) – claudia cardinale

the only time i believed a director when he told me he was in love came somewhere around the 19-second mark of this trailer when felini brings us claudia, the ostensible missing link in guido anselmi’s doomed production: the vestal white, the perfect smile, the evident restraint of guido’s reaction gives clear signal that our boy is done.  but cardinale would have that effect on about 60% of the human population.  her role is small, making a total of four appearances, but when she’s onscreen you remember every crevice, hoping in some way that a more detailed topography of the image will keep her there a second longer.  cardinale, in a few photogenic minutes, steals the movie right from under felini’s nose, and to his endless credit, the maestro doesn’t seem to mind one bit. (tvs)

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Talking with a friend in Paris before I left, he said, “TEXAS?!?  You’re moving from PARIS to TEXAS!?!”

And I said Yes.

And he said But why?!

“There are the reasons that I tell and then there’s a girl.”

“Some girl?”

And I said that no, not just some girl and he said that he would never give up a city like this for some girl.  And I asked What would you give up?  And he said his car.

“You don’t have a car,” I said.

Before I left, I had to write letters to cancel my cell phone and my metro card.  I quit three jobs, threw away 30 pounds of stuff to fit into bags and took a plane across an ocean.  And after a while, after a few frustrations, after a few too many last coffees, I lost track of the reasons.  A decision was made and I was just following through.  Callused, I’d call it.

“That or TV,” he said.

“You don’t watch TV.”

And then I thought What would I give up for love?  My books?  Those can go.  My ability to read?  There’s a tough one.  Tea?  Even tougher.  Okay, well… But a city, even a Paris of a city, I’ll  just say that I’ve begun practicing my y’alls.

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Dimanche, au marché près de Montparnasse, les grand-mères appellent leur petit-fils du prénom de leur fils.  Je passe trois heures au marché en regardant les gens habillés chic car ils  reviennent de l’église.  Ils cherchent les couleurs vivantes de fruits et tous les petits garçons préfèrent les mangues.  Les grand-mères sont d’accords qu’il est difficile de forcer les enfants à manger des fruits.  Je vois un jeune homme de quinze ans qui porte la casquette de son père, en train de regarder les fromages avec sa petite sœur.  Au final, c’est elle qui choisira lequel on apportera à la maison.  Moi, je trempe un morceau du pain libanais dans une barquette d’houmous qui était fait à la maison par l’homme qui vend les olives.

Je marche jusqu’au Jardin du Luxembourg.  J’entre par la fontaine des chevaux avec les visages qui ont peur ; peur de quoi ?  Je ne sais pas.  Les étudiants s’asseyent dans un cercle.  Ils parlent des élections américaines et du vrai esprit du XXIème siècle.  L’étudiant qui porte le skinny-jean et les bottes en cuir italien lève sa bouteille de bière au XXIème siècle.  Cette scène me parle d’Union Square à New York.  Je suis nostalgique.  Mais ce n’est pas New York qui me donne le mal du pays, c’est l’idée de New York.  En réalité, dimanche à New York est comme tous les autres jours.  On bouge.  On travaille.  On ne reste pas.  On ne se repose pas.  On continue, faire mousser, rincer et répéter.  Mais ce n’est pas comme cela maintenant dans les jardins.  Il y a une intemporalité qui engloutit.   Les amants font une sieste sur des chaises qui s’inclinent.  Ils se tiennent par la main, les yeux fermés.  Les disputes d’hier soir sont oubliées, faire mousser, rincer et répéter.  Aux jardins, on pardonne.

Les touristes tournent leur appareil photo et elles font une photo d’elles-mêmes.  Elles regardent la photo.  Elles en font une deuxième.  Elles la regardent.  Ok.  Elles regardent toutes les autres photos sur l’appareil photo, sans rien voir.  Moi, je m’appuie contre la statute d’une femme nue.  Couvre-toi, je dis, scandale. 

Une femme qui porte un hijab me demande une petite pièce.  Je lui donne.  Donne-moi encore de l’argent, s’il te plaît, Guillaume, elle dit.  Tu ressembles à Guillaume.  Je quitte les jardins.  

Je monte à travers la rue.  Il y a un chien sur le trottoir qui tremble convulsivement, pelé, chenu avec quelques traces de violence passées.  Arrive un petit garçon.  Je crois qu’il a six ans, environ, peut-être.  Il se penche vers lui et lui parle.  Je ne crois pas que c’est son chien, ce n’est pas visiblement le sien, mais il se désole de le voir ainsi.  Il s’allonge sur lui et le frictionne, toujours en lui parlant.  Le chien se requinque un peu.  Il y a un autre gosse qui l’observe.  Il rit.  Le chien n’exprime rien, ni réticence, ni joie.  Finalement, le chien lève sa patte vers le petit garçon de six ans.  Ça va meiux. 

Je continue vers chez moi.  Une petite fille m’arrête sur le trottoir.  Elle me demande si je sais la date de l’Amérique.  Je crois que j’ai mal compris. 

-Comment ?

-La date où Christophe Colomb a découvert l’Amérique.

-Quatorze cent quatre-vingt-douze.

-Comme ça s’écrit ?

-Un, quatre, neuf, deux.

-Merci monsieur.

Elle rejoint en trois bonds une grande porte.  Elle tapote un clavier et pousse la porte et disparaît.  1492, c’était son code.  Je suis rarement aussi heureux de connaître par cœur une date d’histoire.

Voici est mon image de Paris.  À Dimanche, quand les rues sont calmes et il y a une tristesse qui t’attend au but de la rue, une cigarette qui luit avec une lueur de tristesse.  Mais il y a une musique dans ces rue humides.  La tristesse n’est pas la douleur.  C’est simplement  la réalisation que la beauté est souvent juste à côté de souffrances et que les grands châteaux, l’Hotel de Ville, peuvent être plus d’un prison qu’un tent au bord de la Seine.  Il y a des touristes, des sans abris, des enfants qui crient au parc, des hommes religieux, des femmes qui demandent du feu, des musicians du métro, moi, qui est entre tous, trempant un morceaux de pain dans une barquette d’houmous, et un chien qui va dormir plus profondement ce soir avec l’aide d’un jeune homme ange de six ans. 

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leselect-2523It was a flash rain and we ducked into Le Select.  The rain came down quick and fast and the servers tipped the chairs outside so the puddles wouldn’t collect.  Water came down quick off the awning and it was quiet on the inside of the floor to ceiling glass.  We sat down.  I acted as if to warm my hands and she watched out the window.

“It’s drenched out there,” she said, and that was it.

Once upon a time, we would forget to pick what we wanted we had that much to say.  They’d bring us the menus and we’d talk over them opened.

“Have you decided yet?” the server would ask.

“Oh, no.  One more minute,” and we’d do our best to concentrate on the small print.

Come to think of it now, I don’t think that’s actually true.  We never had much to say.

“So, how’s the States?” I asked.

“Oh, you know,” she said.

“Yeah.  I guess.”

The server brought water and I poured.  She swirled hers like wine and rearranged her silverware straight.  She glanced at mine, crooked, then at me.  I did nothing.  She watched outside someone parallel parking a Smart car unsuccessfully .

I felt the cold coming off the window.

“What are you getting?” I asked.

“A salad,” she said.

“Yeah.  Those looked good.”

She traced her finger over the rim of her glass.  I thought of asking for a lemon wedge for her.  She likes lemon wedges.  I didn’t ask.

“Do you like it here?” she asked.

“This café or Paris in general?”

She looked at me incrediously.  It was familiar.  

“Paris is always Paris and is bound to be,” I said.  “It’s a beautiful city.”  

The waiter took our order.  I got a salad.  She got the chicken.

A man in the phone-booth just outside yelled, smashed the receiver down, kicked the wall and walked away in a huff.  We both watched.

“What?” she said, after a pause.


“I thought you said something.”

“Oh, no.”

The server brought our food, left the check on the table.

“Those salads do look good,” she said.

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