Photo of the Week

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The view from the Théâtre de l"Odéon at dusk. Photo: Françoise Deberdt-Meunier

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Paris Update What’s On

Links to events happening this week in Paris.

Left Bank gallery crawl
> Open house at 50 galleries for Art Saint Germain des Prés. Various venues, Paris, May 18-June 3.

Gold in galleries

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“Passage” ((2017), by Aude Herlédan. At 1831 Art Gallery during Carré Rive Gauche.

> The Carré Rive Gauche, an association of Left Bank galleries, celebrates its 40th anniversary with an event called ExtrORdinaire, featuring gold in works of art. Various venues, Paris, May 18-June 3.

Literary evening
> The Nuit de la Littérature in Belleville and Ménilmontant presents 20 foreign authors reading their work in French. Various venues, Paris, May 27.

 English-language theater festival
> Paris Fringe returns for its second year of English-language theater and comedy. Various venues, Paris, May 18-28.

Hollywood glam
> Marilyn Monroe, Greta Garbo, Ava Gardner, Marlene Dietrich and more in classic films from Hollywood's Golden Age for the Glamour cycle. Forum des Images, Paris, May 3-31.

French film with English subtitles
> Lost in Frenchlation shows Etienne Comar’s Django, preceded by a themed cocktail party (€4.50). Studio 28, Paris, May 26.

Virtual reality
> Drop in on Saturday or Sunday from 2pm to 8pm for a free virtual trip at the VR Express festival. Forum des Images, Paris, through June 30.

Dance in historic sites
> Monuments en Mouvement offers free dance performances in national monuments like the Pantheon in Paris, the Abbaye de Cluny and châteaux. Various locations, through Oct. 21.

African culture festival
> The 100% Afriques festival showcases dance, theater, music, fashion, design, art, food and more from all over the continent. La Villette, Paris, through May 28.

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Hot Topics - Flash News

 

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GOOD FRENCH TV:
NO LONGER AN OXYMORON

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Tony le Dingue, played by Simon Abkarian.


The French love American TV series, whether schlocky or great. There used to be a regular TV show devoted to American series, and the cable channel Série Club shows nothing but. For some reason, however, the French have never been able to produce a series that lives up to the standards of the American variety, and there has been much hand-wringing and publishing of analytical articles about it lately.

All that seems set to change, however. The series “Pigalle,” which runs on Canal+, has won kudos, and now the state-owned channel France 2 has produced an excellent gangster series called “Les Beaux Mecs,” written by Virginie Brac.

The name means something like “wiseguys” – a term familiar to all Scorcese fans – in the world of French gangsters, and indeed there are some similarities between Scocese’s film Goodfellas and this series: the main character, Antoine (a.k.a. Anthony or Tony le Dingue – Crazy Tony, certainly an homage to a certain New Jersey mob man we all know and love), played by Simon Abkarian, grows up on the streets running errands for the local wiseguys before graduating into their ranks as an insider/outsider. After serving 24 long years in prison and becoming an accidental escapee just before he is paroled in the brilliant opening scenes, Tony throws in his lot with a bunch of young hoods from the suburbs, which makes for many amusingly fraught confrontations between youth and experience.

The show then alternates present-day scenes with flashbacks to the past to show us from whence Tony sprung and why he is as vicious as he is. Unfortunately, Abkarian doesn't have the charisma that made James Gandolfini so lovable as Tony Soprano in spite of his sadistic, brutal side, but Les Beaux Mecs is a real winner, with its excellent production values, original concept and fine writing. Bravo to France 2, a public television station not previously known for its high-class series. Unfortunately, there are no plans to continue the story beyond the eight-part series already made, but let's hope there will be more such efforts. Les Beaux Mecs airs on Wednesdays at 8:35pm on France 2. Heidi Ellison