Calling All Cinephiles
I’m a cinephile. I don’t advertise it because film buffs can be pretentious, but I love film. I’ve seen pretty much everything. I make it a point to. I used to watch TCM day and night because they always have retrospectives, and they bring a lot of films out of the MGM vault. A lot of them are films you would not have the chance to see. You’d be surprised how many of them are lost to time (or fires). But TCM plays them. They’re doing God’s work.
Seeing every movie is a weird compulsive need I have. It’s probably because movies were such a huge part of my childhood, and subsequently hold a special place in my life. I love history, and literature, and film is an extension of that. I was watching Chaplin the other day, and it made me realize how much human history is lost. Film preserves it.
By far my favorite period of film was 1920-1950. Hollywood under the studio system was a thing of glory. Maybe not for the actors, but for cinema goers? Life was tough and going to the movies was a big escape. Movies had to be grand, they had to transport you. Not only do I watch those movies, but I devour novels about the era. Everything about it was spectacular. It was all so glamorous.
They just don’t make films like that anymore. I can really only think of one person who does, but unfortunately Woody Allen is persona non grata. I was such a huge (HUGE) fan (even if he’s heavy handed with Crime and Punishment) that I try to separate the man from his work because really no one makes movies like that. You have to remember he makes one a year and he writes all of them. The man is a genius (why does he have to be such a creep in real life?). It's a shame that no one else from that era exists, and tries to recreate it.
Anyhow one of the great things about France is that they love film too. By far the coolest is the Forum des Images at Les Halles. Yes, you can watch modern movies (and in English), but they have a screening room as well where you can request films. Their collection is currently 6.500 films. I believe you can even request to view the the first film ever made, Arrivée d’un train à la Ciota.
You can find many theaters around Paris that show commercially old films, but the biggest concentration of them seems to be in the 5th. Do you know how amazing it is to be able to watch Gilda on the big screen? Rita Hayworth, Lana Turner, Gene Kelly, Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn, so many names you need to be able to see on a big screen at some point in your life.
The “cinemas” (French for movies) will be opening soon, and hopefully a lot of them aren’t shut permanently. They will certainly need as much help as they can get so patronizing them will really help. I suggest checking out some if you get a chance. Here's a few to get you started. There are others for world movies, political films, obscure films, etc, but these are known for the classics:
Le Champo, 51, rue des Écoles 75005 Paris. Métro : Cluny-La Sorbone, ligne 10
Cinéma Action Christine, 4 Rue Christine, 75006 Paris. Metro: Saint-Michel Notre-Dame, ligne 4
Max Linder Panorama, 24 Boulevard Poissonnière, 75009 Paris. Metro: Grands Boulevards, ligne 8 and 9.
Cinéma des Cinéastes, 7 Avenue de Clichy, 75017 Paris. Metro: Place de Clichy ligne 2 and 13
Studio 28, 10 Rue Tholozé, 75018 Paris. Metro: Abbesses, ligne 12
Cinéma Mac-Mahon, 5 Avenue Mac-Mahon, 75017 Paris. Metro: Argentine ligne 1, Ternes ligne 2, and Kleber ligne 6
And lastly La Pagode, which has never been open in my Paris lifetime (I passed by it almost weekly). They keep saying maybe one day. It's a historical monument so it will at some point be used for something, but who knows for what, and when. For your viewing pleasure: