Whilst working at Romley Davies Publicity over the summer I was given the task of writing a series of features to publicise the release of the new film The Concert. Here is one I wrote about films that use the beautiful and romantic city of Paris as their setting…
To celebrate the release of The Concert on 16th June 2010 we take a look at the top 10 films from the past twenty years where filmmakers have fallen in love with the beautiful and intriguing city that is Paris. With its romantic atmosphere and striking architecture it is the perfect setting for so many fascinating films.
1.The Concert (2010) Thirty years ago, Andrei Simonivich Filipov (Aleksei Guskov) was the celebrated conductor of the renowned Bolshoi Orchestra. But during the communist era, he was fired at the height of his fame for refusing to get rid of all his Jewish musicians, which included his best friend Sasha. Now demoted to the position of cleaner at the Bolshoi, he learns by chance that the Chatelet Theatre in Paris has invited the orchestra to perform there. Andrei decides to reunite his orchestra and to perform in Paris in the place of the current Bolshoi Orchestra. He wants Anne-Marie Jacquet (Melanie Laurent), a young virtuoso, as the solo violinist to accompany his old Jewish and gypsy musicians. If they all manage to overcome the hardships ahead, this very special concert will be a triumph.
2. Amelie (2001) A romantic comedy in which a young woman, with a highly active imagination and sweet, romantic nature, is on a quest to fix and bring happiness to the lives of those around her. Amelie is aware, more than most, of how cruel life can be with her mother dying in a car crash when she was six, a lack of contact with a father and a heart complaint that meant she couldn’t be brought up at school. So after hearing the news that Princess Diana has died in a car crash she sets of on her mission. But amidst her attempts to please others can she make herself happy and find the man of her dreams in the romantic city?
3. Moulin Rouge (2001) A beautiful and tragic love story between theatrical prostitute, Satine (Nicole Kidman), and English poet, Christian (Ewan McGregor). The poet has set out to establish himself as a playwright in Paris yet he soon gets mixed up in the Bohemian underworld of sex, drugs and musical theatre. The infamous nightclub setting, along with stunning cinematography, emphasises the glamour and euphoria that the film presents.
4. The French Kiss (1995) In this romantic comedy Kate’s (Meg Ryan) fiancé is sent to Paris on business and whist there becomes obsessed with French beauty Juliette. After he calls off their wedding Kate is determined to win her lover back by travelling to France. With the help of thief Luc Teyssier, who she meets on her journey, she sets out to prove herself to her ex but it would seem that unexpected feelings begin to emerge between her and the Frenchman.
5. Paris, je t’aime (2006) A unique film about falling in love in which five-minute slots are allocated to some of the best acclaimed filmmakers and directors to declare their adoration for Paris, the City of Love. Each transition links to each other by starting with the last shot of the previous film resulting in a build up of intensifying emotion.
6. The Davinci Code (2006) The film begins in a Paris art gallery where a man lays murdered on the floor underneath Leonardo Davinci’s painting of The Mona Lisa Smile. The film continues with cryptologist Robert Langdon’s (Tom Hanks) pursuit to find clues in order to piece together the mystery which proves to be larger than imagined.
7. Chocolat (2000) Mysterious Vianne and her daughter move to quiet, rural France and cause a stir by opening a chocolate shop across the road from the church where lent is about to begin. Officials try to get her thrown out of the village but many of the locals begin to take warmly to her and especially her secret ingredient in her chocolate that adds a little guilty pleasure to their lives.
8. Phantom of the Opera (2004) Set in the Paris Opera House, a hideous musical genius known as ‘The opera ghost’ gives vocal lessons to a young chorus girl, Christine, and becomes besotted with her. However, whilst he is terrorising the cast into giving his pupil lead roles she is reacquainted with Raoul who she has known since childhood and falls in love with him. In anger the Phantom kidnaps Christine and intends to make her his eternal bride. Luckily, Raoul is prepared to go to extreme lengths to save his lover.
9. Ratatouille (2007) Taking French Cuisine to new levels, the children’s film stars a rat named Remy whose dreams of becoming a culinary marvel come true as he pairs with a young chef with no talent who needs his help. Together they make some delicious dishes but they are constantly watching their backs…if the rat is spotted in the kitchen it will be the end of the road for both of them!
10. The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996) 15th Century Paris is the setting for the Disney film where puppeteer Clopin tells the story of the hunched back, unsightly character, Quasimodo, who spends his days hidden from the world in a bell tower by his evil master Frollo. During the Festival of Fools, Quasimodo’s gargoyle friends encourage him to go and take part and enjoy himself. Amidst the festivities he meets beautiful gypsy girl Esmeralda and falls in love with her. Throughout the rest of the film he sets out to protect her as they fall under the rage of Frollo.