Monday, January 11, 2010

oh, to be an american in paris, and watch an american in paris

an american in paris
is not the best of movie musicals. it is weighed down by:
  1. really, really cheesy stereotypes of frenchness. and strange little dough pucks being passed off as croissants.
  2. equally cheesy painter tropes. jerry mulligan, the main character, played by gene kelly, is an artist and he lives in a garret, borrows money from his friends, and sells his paintings on a montmartre corner. were i to catalogue said paintings, i would have to mention a shocking number of pictures of the opera garnier and the seine.
  3. people forever saying things like "ah! paris..." or "paris has ways of making you forget" or, in response to an expressed need for wine and women, "that shouldn't be hard--we are in paris after all."
  4. tiny humorous moments of 50s studio blindness, like a love scene by the seine in which the lovers voices sound almost exactly as if they were on a metro-goldwyn-mayer set...
but in spite of all this, one american girl in paris with long-standing crushes on both gene kelly and leslie caron found seeing an american in paris in an actual cinema (la filmothèque du quartier latin, highly recommended, which has two rooms, one decorated in blue with a picture of audrey hepburn, the other in red with a picture of marilyn monroe, which is certainly one way to sum up movies, women, and life) to be quite the pleasantest way possible to spend a grey afternoon.

for further, more eloquent, explanation of this feeling, readers are referred to david sedaris's essay "the city of light in the dark" in his me talk pretty one day. do not seek elucidation in a summary of the essay, however. anyone who has ever read david sedaris will understand why this little abstract, here...

Going to cinemas in Paris, France, can be as culturally enriching as visiting Parisian landmarks such as Notre Dame or the Picasso Museum. A discussion of the wide variety and good quality of films is presented. Some 250 pictures per week are shown, a third of which are in English.


...entirely misses the mark.

but i must fly--i'm off to see brigadoon!

*it should be noted that an american in paris won a best picture oscar. i suppose the enjoyability bit won them over, but there's no accounting for standards.

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