Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Mutual Admiration Society Film Festival?

Let's face it, folks.  We really do love each other, the U.S. and France.  Or at least we are endlessly fascinated with each other.  And there's no sign of this mutual admiration's waning.  Au contraire.

Here's a bit of culture news that caught my eye.  Opening this week  in New York is American filmmaker Frederick Wiseman's documentary of the ballet at the Palais Garnier. La Danse: the Paris Opera Ballet promises to be a fascinating glimpse behind the scenes at that elegant institution.



So why did I laugh when I read the review?  It had nothing to do with Wiseman's film per se.  There was just a bit of ironic timing.  A cultural juxtaposition, the kind that always hits my funny bone.

This week at the Virginia Film Festival, French cineaste Claude Miller will be screening the American debut of Marching Band.

Both of these documentaries are appealing.  I can't wait to see them.  But it tickled me to realize that this week in film news, France sees American culture through the lens of two southern university marching bands, whereas America views French culture as quintessentially elegant ballet.


Anyway, I was thinking how fun it would be to screen those two movies together. Because, really, we do love each other, we French and Americans. Are we drawn to what we find most exotic in the other culture?

So my morning java-inspired idea began evolving.  There are already a host of excellent French Film festivals in the US each year.  And of course the Deauville American Film Festival in France.  But how about creating an annual French/American film festival, to be held on both sides of the Atlantic?  It would feature, side by side, French documentaries about the US and American documentaries about France.  In France the screenings would no doubt be accompanied by débats philosophiques sprinkled with the phrase regards croisés. Maybe a flute of champagne.  In America they would probably be accompanied by hot dogs and apple pie, plus brie and baguettes. Right?

Just an idea.

image from Virginia Film Festival

10 comments:

Diane said...

You're right, that's so ironic but true. Your idea sounds good. We lived in France for 4 yrs and found ourselves the center of attention at several gatherings just because of the fact that we were Americans living in their country.

Alison said...

I love your idea. Lexington is a sister city to Deauville, so we should totally have the film festival here. LOL

Eddie said...

Ah! This is a brilliant idea, Polly. I would try my hardest to go to any such festival, although where I currently live is probably not likely to have such a thing. I might be able to pull some strings though...

Polly-Vous Francais said...

Now you have all seen how my brain works in hyper-caffeination mode!

I'm happy at least 3 people think it's a good idea.

Alsion, the Deauville/Lexington notion has got my brain humming. The mayor of Lexington came to Paris for the Lafayette anniversary. Have to cogitate on that.

Eddie, where do you live? Pulling strings is always appreciated.

Okay folks, actually after reading your comments, here is my latest stream-of-consciousness thought. Do you know how the Metropolitan Opera livestreams its perfomances to theatres around the globe all at the same time? (To packed houses.) Well, maybe we could have that kind of French/American Film Festival, simultaneously in a lot of places in both France and the U.S.

I find this idea quite energizing, so stay tuned.

Anne Doyle said...

Hey, sounds great! Go for it!!

All good wishes!!

Starman said...

Very interesting concept, though I think it would be more likely that beer accompany the hot dogs.

Anonymous said...

Polly,

I don't even remember how I ended up on your blog, but it doesn't matter - I was just cruising around from blog to blog.

"Polly"... interesting... I'm sure I saw a US movie by that name. Something about a girl working in the fashion section of a department store. It was very good, even if a bit depressing.

And yeah, je "polly" fran�ais perfectly, lol.

WhyNot said...

Ok, let's try again (sigh)...

Polly,

I don't even remember how I ended up on your blog, but it doesn't matter - I was just cruising around from blog to blog.

"Polly"... interesting... I'm sure I saw a US movie by that name. Something about a girl working in the fashion section of a department store. It was very good, even if a bit depressing.

And yeah, je "polly" fran�ais perfectly, lol.

Emm said...

I would so love to see that movie! But, alas, I am too far away from New York. However, your idea of a French-American film feast is a great one.

A couple of ideas for possible connections: the NC School of the Arts and the Riverrun Film Festival in Winston Salem. Might be some good links possible through those.

Emm said...

Well, I meant film "fest" but feast is a good description of what it would be.

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