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World Film Locations: Paris
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ISBN 9781841505619
Paperback 128 pages
Published February 2012
Imprint: Intellect
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Books by Marcelline Block
Books in Film Studies
Other books in this series Review: Screening the Past

Edited by Marcelline Block
Reviews     |      Comments

World Film Locations: Paris presents reviews of 46 film scenes in their encounters with Parisian topography as it intersects with characters, plots, and narrative. The imagined Paris which has for centuries haunted the collective unconscious is reenacted in these scenes. Along with revisiting iconic tourist sites/attractions such as the Eiffel Tower and the Moulin Rouge, spectators discover lesser known, yet intriguing quartiers usually tucked away from the tourists’ gaze: decaying neighborhoods about to be demolished in an effort to gentrify/rehaussmannize Paris. This volume examines how the City of Light is reinvented through each director’s lenses: successive representations add magic to the already mythical city. Paris, capital of letters as extolled in Alan Rudolph’s The Moderns, Philip Kaufman’s Henry and June and Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris draws upon its past as well as looks towards the future – as in the creation of provocative futuristic renditions projected by Chris Marker’s La jetée and Julien Leclercq’s Chrysalis. Reviewers consider cinematic movements and genres such as Poetic Realism; the New Wave; the Left Bank Group; cinéma-vérité; the Cinéma du Look, while essays foreground contributions from francophone African directors, émigré filmmakers, and the occasionally demonized Paris of some of Claire Denis’ films. Striking screengrabs illustrate the importance of location, while contemporary photographs coincide with cinematic narratives set in the storied City of Light. For centuries Paris has reigned over the imagination: sung as 'Queen of the World' by Mistinguett in 1926, upheld as 'Capital of the 19th Century' by Walter Benjamin in 1935, and more recently as 'Capital of the World' by Patice Higonnet and as 'Capital of Modernity' in David Harvey’s words – thus embodying the struggle among Paris’ plural realities and 'mythical and magical' aspects expressed by each director who selects it as a favored filming location. Directors/viewers/actors/spectators resemantize Humphrey Bogart’s words towards the end of Casablanca: 'we’ll always have Paris' – in spite of Billy Crystal’s Forget Paris, Paris is unforgettable for those who have seen it and those who have only imagined it through literature, painting, poetry and film. The reader of this volume of World Film Locations will delight in recognizing, again and again, not only the familiar and unfamiliar aspects of Paris, but in being reassured that it is and will always be there: as Luciano Emmer aptly states, Paris is Always Paris.


''Marcelline Block’s superbly edited collection explores the most important movie city in the world, examining the myriad ways in which filmmakers have celebrated its iconic glories, peered into its shadowy corners, roamed through quartiers old and new, and chronicled its protean moods and atmospheres in films ranging from romance and comedy to poetic realism and science fiction. In its film-historical sweep, its blend of words and images, and the diversity of views presented by its contributors, the volume shows why Vive la Paris! and Vive le cinéma! have been synonymous since the earliest days of film.'' – David Sterritt, Author of The Films of Jean-Luc Godard: Seeing the Invisible

'Marcelline Block has just published her edited collection of often exqu essays—World Film Locations: Paris—in which each writer turns the imagination on Paris, which in 20th (and, to an extent) 21st century filmmaking, became the object of desire (nothing obscure about it) of film noir, nouvelle vague, émigré cinema, auteur film, African-American directorship and other cinematic tendencies. All of them—no matter what star, director, genre you think of—turned the cinematic lamps on the arche-star, Paris itself. In this volume, every film of the era you can name—Les enfants du paradis, A bout de souffle, Paris qui dort (it would exhaust the space allotted to continue)—is brilliantly, quirkily, outlandishly treated by established and emerging film theorists. Beware: if you read this book, it will water your eyes for the lumières forever unplugged.' – Marshall Blonsky, Author most currently of the volume Apocalypse, Inc.

'As a reference book or as a guide book for film fans heading for Paris this year it is perfect.' – Charlie Mansfield, University of Plymouth Journal of Tourism Consumption and Practice, vol. 4, no. 2, 2012

'A lavishly illustrated guide ... will provide pleasure for French film buffs and other seasonal film-goers, as well as visitors to Paris.' – Carrie Tarr for Modern & Contemporary France

'This series gathers together a wonderful collection of cinematic moments that rise up out of the city and re-inscribe it with new ways of seeing' – Sarinah Masukor for Screening th Past

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