On Montmartre, décor de cinéma, an exhibition.
A couple of weeks ago I visited Paris. Amongst the cinephile touchpoints of the city that I made a point of calling in on (Potemkine, the grave of Jacques Rivette, the Louxor Palais du Cinéma; the Cinémathèque was closed) was Montmartre, décor de cinéma, an exhibition that is currently running at the Musée de Montmartre.
The exhibition showcases filmic works that use Montmartre for their location and inspiration. A number of high profile films have been filmed in the district, their titles synonymous with the hilly peak of the city of light, films like Marcel Carne’s Les Enfants du Paradis, and Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Amelie, and those films are present in the show, but it’s the more obscure titles that are of most interest here. I left the exhibition with an extensive watch list of movies I’ve never encountered before; films such as Julien Duvivier’s Boulevard, a picture shot in Pigalle with a Jean-Pierre Leaud fresh off The 400 Blows, and Abel Gance’s Louise. A clip from a film I can find little info on, Metropolitan: L’autre dimension de la ville, from 1988 runs on a small screeen on a loop in the exhibition, with it portraying a POV shot of a car zooming through the area (if anyone can help with further identifying that, please do get in touch; the photograph I took of the exhibtion plate is frustratingly blurry when it comes to the credits).
Not only is the exhibition itself rather special, so is the museum in which it is housed. Historically A group of houses grouped together in the hills of Montmartre, the space is the perfect hidden corner in one of paris’ busiest points. Even void of the cinema exhibition it offers the perfect breather from the hustle of the tourist hotspot of Montmartre. The Renoir gardens, so named for Auguste, are a hidden highlight of this part of town.
I’ve included a clip from Boulevard below. If English subtitles don’t automatically play, just select the appropriate option in-screen. Montmartre, décor de cinéma runs through January 2018, with further information available at the exhibition’s official website.