Sunday, July 22, 2012

Six dans Paris

Place d'Etoile

Six in Paris is a New Wave film that features six short episodes by six different directors. Each story takes place in one of six arrondisements in Paris. It was filmed in 1965 so what the viewer is treated to a grainy, gray view of the city. The stories are nonsensical. One involves a man and his attack in self defense on a drunk with his umbrella. Another has a boy who finds a pair of earplugs and uses them to block the voices of his arguing parents. A third concerns a world-weary prostitute and her inexperienced client.

Nothing much really happens. That is so French. There is a lot of talk and smoke and atrocious table manners. But, and here is the thing, the street scenes of Paris are fantastic. What we have is Paris of the 1960s with its automobiles, fashions, and what seems to be an awful lot of building construction going on. What I was most struck by was that there was hardly any traffic - compared to today - and the sidewalks were practically empty. Surely Paris of a different time.

While watching the vignette about the haberdasher with the umbrella, Place d'Etoile, I recalled how I landed at the Arc-de-Triomphe by bus from the airport. To get from the cafe where the bus let me off (and where I ate un petit déjeuner) to the Avenue des Champs-Elysées, I had to cross something like seven streets. I believe there are twelve streets that meet at the circle.

It is a great mess for traffic, and a bigger mess for pedestrians.

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