Cinephiles traveling to Paris will find a wealth of entertaining knowledge about Paris cinematic history in this relatively slim but well-researched volume. Author Michael Schürmann brings a lively and often humorous tone to ten cinema-drenched walks in the city of lights, and the suggested itineraries are clear and easy to follow. Frequently overlooked details on Parisian social and political history, architecture, or noteworthy Parisian personalities are woven into the walks, making this book a valuable addition to your suitcase even if you are only nominally interested in movies.
- Clear, easy-to-follow tours organized by Paris neighborhood
- Book provides well-researched facts and anecdotes -- on cinema and beyond
- Good balance between classic and contemporary, Hollywood blockbuster and "auteur" cinema
- Includes a searchable index of featured movies by title and Metro map
- Lively, humorous narration
- Lack of actual stills from featured movies can make scenes difficult to visualize for the unfamiliar
- Full Title: Paris Movie Walks/Ten Guided Tours Through the City of Lights! Camera! Action!
- Author: Michael Schürmann
- Publisher: The Intrepid Traveler
Full Review: A Handy Guide for Movie Lovers Visiting Paris
The book, just shy of 300 pages and easy to tote around, is filled with subtle observations about the spots where movie directors chose to set up shop in Paris. Comprising 10 easy-to-follow walks corresponding to distinct areas of Paris, Schürmann's book includes facts and anecdotes about films as diverse in genre and era as Marcel Carné's Hôtel du Nord, Billy Wilder's Irma La Douce, Francois Truffaut's Jules et Jim or Hollywood blockbusters (and flops) such as Sabrina and French Kiss. It's accessible enough for readers who are less than devout cinephiles, but the author is clearly well-versed in celluloid history and techniques, so readers with some expertise certainly won't be bored. Chapters 9 and 10 are devoted to Paris cinema classics such as The Red Balloon and Zazie dans le Metro, particularly suited to "auteur" fans.
It's easy to follow the tours in the book and have your imagination piqued not only by cinematic moments in the places you're ambling through, but also by intriguing glimmers of social history, architecture, art, or the megalomaniac foibles of Parisian leaders. Schürmann manages to pack the book with celluloid facts but also gives us a larger picture. There's also attention paid to cross-referencing between contemporary and classic films: strolling along the Canal St. Martin, for example, we learn that the boat that sinks to the bottom of the canal in Last Tango in Paris is called the Atalante-- a clear homage to the eponymous 1934 film by revered French director Jean Vigo.
One minor flaw: There's a lack of printed stills corresponding to the scenes being described throughout. This may make it difficult for you to visualize scenes if you haven't seen the films in question. This is an understandable omission, given how costly and complicated the process of securing permission to use such stills can be. Overall, this takes away only slightly from the usability of the book, which remains an entertaining and informative read.
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