Letter from Paris

Two days left of a two week holiday stay in Paris. For the third time in the same rented apartment in rue Saint Denis near rue Réaumur and Blvd. Sebastopol. And it was a different stay this time after November 13, where 130 innocent people were killed and more than 300 injured. On the photo me with ”le Monde” carrying the headline, a quote from the President, ”Ils étaient la Jeunesse de France”. I bought it on the day where Francois Hollande presided the National Hommage for the victims in la cour de l’Hôtel national des Invalides. We watched it on television – it was from a visual point of view a perfect mise en scène of dignity with the President in focus, arriving alone to sit on a modest chair in front of the rows of invited relatives of the victims and politicians and soldiers and police and whoever is in the top of the civil and military adminstration. Hollande made a good speech as far as I understood it in a moment of grief. It was not only la marseillaise that was played, there was Bach, a chanson by Barbara and moving it was to hear ”Quand on n’a que l’amour” by Jacques Brel, performed by three women. They did well, but if you want to hear it performed by the master himself, go to youtube.

France is in a state of emergency, the COP21 Climate meeting started last weekend, you see and feel it in the centre of the city of Paris, where we have had our walks. Lots of

uniforms, policemen and -women, soldiers with machine guns around attractions like Louvre and Centre Pompidou, several police sirens up the boulevards during the days we have been here – we decided not to visit the big museums, but had pleasure at l’Orangerie (see Allan Berg’s Danish report on the photographer Cameron), the re-opened Rodin museum, Jacquemart-André, Institut du Monde Arabe. There is so much to enjoy in Paris and we have done our usual promenades around le Marais (sitting in the sunshine on a bench at Place des Vosges), Jardin de Luxembourg is a must for us looking at life as it is performed by all ages, rue Montorgeuil close to home, the slow-slow re-building of les Halles, Place de la Republique with all the beautiful candles and written greetings after November 13.

The state of emergency is indeed questionable. A visiting friend told us how unconfortable he felt that ”they” now could enter your home anytime to check whatever – the same friend told us that he looks around when he travels the metro and always enters the last wagon. Why, I asked, I have heard that ”they” always enter in the middle, he answered!

Fear… but we have made our decisions and we have noticed that there have been fewer people in ”our” restaurants, no significant queues at the exhibitions we have visited, but we have also stayed inside during the evenings. Never mind, lunches at the brasseries are enjoyable, and a cigar on a café terrasse in sunshine has been enjoyed as always.

Fear… well Le Monde from today reports on a poll for the upcoming regional elections: 30% for Front National (le Pen)!!!

The newspaper’s obvious analysis is that the FN profits from the fear related to November 13 – more police, longer state of emergency, harder politics towards immigration, more bombing in Syria…

Have to stop now, the sun is shining in wonderful Paris!

… and back in the appartment after seeing Hotel de Ville totally surrounded by police cars and soldiers, only people with badges and passports could pass rue de Rivoli, but we found our way to a place in the sun at the bridge that leads from one island to the other.

Photo by Allan Berg.

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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