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Showing posts from January, 2016

My 5 Favourite French Films

Before Christmas I took French classes at the Ecole Francaise in Chicago as preparation for my recent teaching expedition to Paris in January 2016. It was an upper intermediate conversation and grammar class, and one week we were asked to name five French films that we know. My first response was: Only five!? But here are the first five that came to mind, the sort of films that I can (and do) watch again and again: La Passion de Jean d'Arc, d. Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1928. La Grande Illusion, d. Jean Renoir, 1937. Les Quatre Cents Coups, d. Francois Truffaut, 1959. A Bout du Souffle, d. Jean-Luc Godard, 1960. Jules et Jim, d. Francois Truffaut, 1962. If I could take just one to a desert island (the sort of desert island that has a movie projector that is completely impervious to sand and humidity, naturally), I would choose Les Quatre Cents Coups.

Another Picasso Pilgrimage

I've just got back from teaching in Paris for two and a half weeks, and while I was there I had the opportunity to learn more biographical information about the location of Picasso's studios. I blogged extensively about his Montmartre studio , the Bateau Lavoir, after my January 2015 trip. Like last year, the apartment I was staying in is located in Montparnasse, which I knew Picasso had some connections with. But in the 11 months between the 2015 trip and this one, I reread the passages of John Richardson's biography of Picasso relating to Montparnasse, and discovered that one of the studios Picasso rented in Montparnasse was only a five minute walk from my apartment. My apartment is south of the cemetery, Picasso's studio overlooks the east side of the cemetery: This is what the building looked like when Picasso moved there in 1913 with his new companion, Eva: John Richardson ( Life of Picasso, Volume II , p. 285) writes about it as follows: The studio-cu