Century 1964: Paris When It Sizzles

Paris When It Sizzles. Richard Quine. 1964.

This cocktail was surprisingly delicious. The ingredients seem kinda meh, but all together they resulted in an amazing cocktail.

Hay! I had two films from 1963 lined up, but it turned out that my DVDs of Les Carabiniers and Le petit soldat had no subtitles whatsoever, so that’s a scratch.

But whyyyy! Just put English subtitles on the DVDs you release, people! It increases the potential audience by several magnitudes!

So here we are in 1964 instead with a film that’s a weird cross between a 40s mannered comedy and a 60s Nouvelle Vague film. It’s even made explicit in the film: Audrey Hepburn says that her last assignment was with a New Wave director who made a film “about people who go to this party and decide not to play Scrabble”. Weirdly enough, Jean-Luc Godard’s Alphaville was released the next year.

This is the most meta film ever! It’s about a guy who makes a film about a girl who knows a guy that’s doing a film. It exhilarating! But it’s so weird: It’s also a 40s romantic comedy.

I can totally understand why this film was apparently universally panned, but I think it’s rather fun. Films about making movies have never been wildly commercially successful, so you have to wonder why they keep making them, but I guess it’s tempting to making movies about what you know. Which is making movies.

I think this is a really fascinating and fun film.

This blog post is part of the Century series.

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