Gluttonous, art-infused junket in the city that is paradigmatic in the world of art, opera, ballet and film; Paris, gloriously, luminously ravishing, glamorous even in an ark-level deluge; imminently, anticipated Noah and his fleet to be docked on the Champs-Elysees.
The film gods blessed us with a stunning, nostalgic “Paris Seen by Hollywood” exposition at the Hotel De Ville; over 800 American movies have been shot in this camera-worthy, iconic city. From the silent greats: “Absinthe” (1913), “Hunchback of Notre Dame” (1923) to recent homage’s of Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” and Marin Scorsese’s “Hugo”, Paris continues to enthrall, mesmerize and fascinate movie attendees.
The show is rich in Hollywood memorabilia: posters, photographs, costumes, capturing the savoir faire, juex de vie, Belle Époque of archival, vintage movies; films where the actors are no longer living, but linger forever, frozen in youthful grandeur, vivacity, by the cinema.
The pivotal focus of the installation is a huge rectangular screen where continuous film clips depict splendid scenes from the masters and stars of Hollywood’s oeuvre: gamin, sprite, scintillating Audrey Hepburn in “Charade” (with inimitably charming Cary Grant), “Funny Face” , (costarring with debonair Fred Astaire) “Love in the Afternoon” (paired with a jovial and suave Gary Cooper), she is the epitome of style, innocence, the “electricity” in the city of “light”; enigmatic Greta Garbo pulsates in “Ninotchka”; the liquidity of Fred Astaire in “Funny Face”. The crown in the myriad of Hollywood movies made in Paris is Vincent Minnelli’s “An American in Paris” (1951). Marvelously aerobic, supremely athletic Gene Kelly and lithesome, lovely Leslie Caron lavish and daze audiences with their unquestionable dexterity, poignant, titillating love story; Paris glistens and enhances their every scene; it never stales, always refreshes, trounces the senses with each viewing; “Jerry Mulligan” (Gene Kelly) responding to “Lise” (Leslie Caron) states, “ Paris is too real and too beautiful, it never lets you forget anything. It reaches in and opens you wide and you stay that way.”
Chimerical, mystical, transformative Paris is captured perfectly in “Paris Seen by Hollywood”. One’s spirit, if only for a fleeting moment is unloosed; that unshackled spirit dances, cries, loves and remembers the long dormant, but always lingering, flavorful, unmistakable taste of a city that forever mystifies, justifies, glorifies one’s fantasies.