Photo of the Week

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Left to right: Eiffel Tower, Louvre Pyramid, Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel and Ferris Wheel. © Paris Update

 

Paris Update This Week’s Events

For full details about an event, click on the title to visit the official Web site (in English when available).

Drawing through the ages

Paris-Update-Matisse-les-pommes
"Apples" (1944), by Henri Matisse. Eric Coatalem Gallery.

> Salon du Dessin: 39 galleries showing works on paper, from Old Masters to contemporary. Palais Brogniart, Paris, March 22-27.

Contemporary drawing fair
> Drawing Now: 73 galleries, Carreau du Temple, Paris, March 23-26.

More contemporary drawings
>Ddessin: 20 galleries. Atelier Richelieu, Paris, March 24-26.

Art and design fair
> PAD (Paris Art + Design),
67 galleries, Tuileries Garden, Paris, March 22-26.

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, March 23-May 28.

French film with English subtitles
> Lost in Frenchlation shows Audrey Dana's Si j'Étais un Homme, preceded by a themed cocktail party (€4.50). Studio 28, Paris, Feb. 24.

Documentary film festival
> Cinéma du Réel showcases documentaries from around the world. Various venues, Paris, March 24-April 2.

Suburban blues
> The Banlieues Bleues festival brings major French and international jazz acts to the Paris suburbs. Various venues, through March 31.

Before and after ecological disaster
> The Chic Planète festival presents two types of films, those celebrating the bounty of the earth and science-fiction views of what will happen after an ecopalypse. Forum des Images, Paris, through April 13.

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Institut National de l’Audiovisuel

Now Showing on Your Home Computer Screen

May 1968 as seen on French television. © INA.

While politicians and the entertainment industry argue about the right to download music and videos from the Web, France’s Institut National de l’Audiovisuel has taken the revolutionary step of digitizing its archives, putting them online and letting the public download video and audio from the French national broadcasting companies for free.

INA (www.ina.fr) made the service available at the end of April and was quickly overwhelmed by users. The site’s capacity has now been upgraded to accommodate the huge number of visitors.

Highlights of news coverage dating from 1914 (silent footage of soldiers in World War I) to 2000 are also available. Among the many moments of history on offer, you can watch Hitler and Franco yukking it up together in a train in 1940, Japanese planes attacking Pearl Harbor in 1941 and the liberation of Paris in 1944.

On the lighter side, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall run from a policeman on a Paris street in 1951 in an obviously staged (and surprisingly badly acted by Bogie) news clip. Another clip from the same year shows that Paris nightlife hasn’t changed that much: the Discothèque on the Rue Saint Benoît didn’t have a bouncer at the door to screen wannabe revelers, but was so exclusive that customers needed a key to get in.

It was expected that users would be most interested in watching the TV news program from the day of their birth in the “Journal de Votre Naissance” section (currently available for certain years only). If you were born on June 27, 1976, for instance, you would learn from the evening news (with its hilariously low-tech production values) that the top story was a heat wave in France, followed by the hijacking of an Air France plane originating in Tel Aviv to Libya. But the most popular feature turns out to be clips from “Les Shadoks,” a cult series of two-minute cartoons shown on French TV in the late 1960s. Next in popularity is anything related to Charles de Gaulle. There is a small charge to view the entire two minutes of the Shadoks, since this is copyrighted material, but this is true for only about 20 percent of the 100,000 programs currently online.

The work goes on as INA continues to digitize its archives and put them online. The screen is tiny and the clips sometimes frustratingly short, but like all TV, it’s hard to stop watching.

Heidi Ellison

© 2006 Paris Update

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