Jacques Becker is one of the great painters of Paris. Without leaving his filmography, one has to choose between this magnificent exhibition of film noir and “The lovers of Montparnasse”, about the misadventures of the great Modigliani. In “Paris, underworld” (1951), they dispute the love of a prostitute (Simone Signoret) a humble carpenter and a low-class thug. The filmmaker, father of Jean Becker, another great director, was inspired by a well-known scandal that shook the city of lights at the beginning of the century. Although part of it was shot in studio, you can see the rue des Gardes and the rue Messier, among others.
“The 400 blows”
François Truffaut was one of the angry French critics who took over from the cinema of qualité in his country, riding the crest of a wave that saw reality “as it is”, with Rossellini as a model. The young François debuted with this lucid childhood portrait in 1959, a look that describes and at the same time denounces; it provokes the smile and also the emotion. Among the dozens of unforgettable shots in this film, the street class in which the students escape from the line led by a clueless gym teacher stands out. The touristic review of Paris, on the other hand, is very complete.
“At the end of the getaway”
Jean-Luc Godard goes on tour with Belmondo in 1960, taking advantage of the fact that he steals cars and is capable of killing. The tender counterpoint is found in the delicious Jean Seberg, who we also see selling copies of the “Herald Tribune” on the streets. With the collaboration of François Truffaut on the script, “À bout de souffle” was so innovative that today’s audiences may not yet be ready to enjoy it.
It may not be one of the great masterpieces of the great Jacques Tati. The interesting thing about the film (from 1968), in this case, is that the unmistakable Mr. Hulot, ten years older, arrives in the big city and is amazed by the modern architecture, inside and outside, which inspires him with some visual jokes.
“The meetings in Paris”
Perhaps it is the best film of all to explore Paris without leaving home or a movie theater. Old Eric Rohmer tells various stories as he reveals some beautiful routes that are not always known to the most seasoned traveler. Romantic, sensitive and with a disarming simplicity, the film (from 1995) will bore the filmmaker’s detractors, who will consider it hopelessly French.
“The girl on the bridge”
Vanessa Paradis is about to jump into the Seine with suicidal intentions, but Daniel Auteuil, a knife thrower by profession, shows up just in time. Patrice Leconte, a filmmaker who was very fashionable a few years ago (“The Hairdresser’s Husband”) plays the most difficult circus performer yet with this 1999 parable about love, destiny and death, stabbing ragged against romantic comedies by use, shot in a sharp black and white with more talent than money.
Jean Pierre-Jeunet, without his usual Caro, told us in 2001 the fabulous destiny of Amelie Poulan with such grace that Audrey Tautou will never completely detach the character, inseparably linked to the streets of Paris. The young woman’s dreams appear through her huge eyes, windows open to a fantasy world and a long dozen Parisian locations that reach up to the sky.
“In the city without limits”
There are other examples from our country, such as “Spanish in Paris” (1971), by Roberto Bodegas, but the film by Antonio Hernández (2002) seems preferable. Fernando Fernán-Gómez lives his last days in the French capital, surrounded by his family and tormented by old fears, while the distribution of the imminent inheritance is being resolved. Splendid intrigue drama, outstanding in every section. Special mention should be made of the script, the photography, the artistic direction, the music and absolutely the entire cast.
Bernardo Bertolucci does two of the things he does best: discover a beauty, Eva Green (who would end up as a Bond girl) and provoke with an extreme argument. The Italian goes back to Paris in ’68 in a 2003 film, where two brothers who understand each other too well meet a young American, who joins the party. Morbid, twisted and intelligent, the film has great moments and contains more than one tribute to the cinema that will thrill many of its followers. Although he abuses the interiors, he does not go to the extreme of another of his great French films, “The Last Tango in Paris”, and there is some interesting walk.
In “Before Dawn” (2004), Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy met in Vienna and had an unforgettable night. Ten years later, in the middle of a Richard Linklater film, they meet again in Paris with a broken promise of reunion along the way. From coffee to coffee, in the parks and on the Seine, this second part not only lives up to the first, but is one of the great romantic cinema titles of the last decade.
«Midnight in Paris»
Of the European tourist catalog that Woody Allen has given himself to in recent times, his 2011 Parisian guide is far superior to that of Barcelona or the Roman one, despite his detractors. The usual findings of the script are written against a high moral background, an anti-nostalgic recipe against complainers who in every era have thought that “any time past was better.”