The city of lights is nothing without its clichés’ network comprising every street corner, café and riverbank. Virtual travels to Paris set expectations and build ideal images that can give you a sense of what it’s all about. Here are Paris’s 5 most spectacular portrayals in movies, but the list stays open.
Funny Face (1957) – directed by Stanley Donen, staring Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire
“I’d be in Paris now if I could afford it!”
What is special about this enchanting musical is that two of its main characters, Fred Astaire’s Dick Avery and Kay Thompson’s Maggie Prescott, were actually based on real-life people: famed photographer Richard Avedon and fashion editor Diana Vreeland. Also, it comprises some of Audrey Hepburn’s most iconic moments and a remarkable Hubert de Givenchy wardrobe.
Le Fabuleaux Destin d’Amélie Poulain (2001) – directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, staring Audrey Tautou and Mathieu Kassovitz
“We pass the time of day to forget how time passes.”
Nominated for 5 Academy Awards, including Best Original Screenplay, this magical comedy met overwhelming acclaim worldwide. Amélie is a shy waitress working at a tiny Paris café who makes a surprising discovery and sees her life drastically changed for the better. Although she dedicates herself to helping others find happiness, her destiny has a comical way of turning things the other way around.
Paris, je t’aime (2006) – directed by 22 directors and staring Natalie Portman, Gérard Depardieu, Elijah Woods, Willem Defoe and many others
“They say a lot of things about Paris. They say it’s a place where artists find inspiration. They say it’s a place where people come to discover something new about their lives. They say it’s a place where you can find love.”
In Paris, je t’aime, celebrated directors from around the world, including the Coen Brothers, Gus Van Sant, Gurinder Chadha, Wes Craven, Walter Salles, Alexander Payne and Olivier Assayas, have come together to portray Paris in a way never imagined before. With each director telling the story of an unusual encounter in one of the city’s neighbourhoods, the vignettes go beyond the ‘postcard’ view of Paris and portray aspects of the city rarely seen on the big screen. Racial tensions stand next to paranoid visions of the city seen from the perspective of an American tourist. A young foreign worker moves from her own domestic situation into her employer’s bourgeois environs. An American starlet finds escape as she is shooting a movie etc.
Hugo (2011) – directed by Martin Scorsese, staring Asa Butterfield, Chloe Grace Moretz and Jude Law
“If you ever wonder where your dreams come from, look around: this is where they’re made.”
Hugo is set in Paris in 1931 and begins with a breathtaking shot of the city, as the camera swoops down on to a busy railway station. Martin Scorsese’s first 3D film follows a 12-year-old boy who lives alone inside Gare Montparnasse and secretly fixes the clocks by himself. He befriends a young girl and together find themselves in the midst of a thrilling mystery.
Midnight in Paris (2011) – directed by Woody Allen, staring Owen Wilson, Marion Cotillard, Adrien Brody and Rachel McAdams
“We all fear death and question our place in the universe. The artist’s job is not to succumb to despair, but to find an antidote for the emptiness of existence.”
In this movie, Woody Allen pursues the idea that people of every generation have always romanticized a previous age as golden, but he also honours Gil’s need to find out certain truths for himself. A midnight encounter draws him into the jazzy world of Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Picasso and Dali, and an intense Ernest Hemingway, who promises to bring Gil’s manuscript to Gertrude Stein for review.