Monday, January 2, 2012

An American in Paris

Yesterday I watched An American in Paris with Gene Kelly.  I don't even need to spend time on how unbelievably handsome and talented that man is, but just for a moment, let's enjoy anyway...
Ahh - there we go.  Handsome.  Manly - even when he dances. Which is a quality I absolutely love about him.  It does not matter the style of dance he does (though mostly known for tap was a well-rounded dancer in many styles and it is shown quite well in this particular film), he always looked like a man.  Yum-o! 

But what I loved about the film (aside from Gene Kelly, brilliant dancing, and beautiful choreography) was that is was set in Paris.  Paris - a city that we all love secretly in our hearts even if we haven't been there.  And don't talk to me about "those French people".  People are people - governments are not the same as "people".  I still want to go to Paris.

This had me thinking about the number of films I personally love that have Paris as a major component.  An American in Paris is just one, but Julie and Julia is also given the backdrop of Ol' Parie' and in The Devil Wears Prada, the main event of the movie is a big fashion trip to Paris.  The Davinci Code is in Paris and so is Funny Face with Audrey Hepbrun and Fred Astaire.  Even The Hunchback of Notre-dame, made into a Disney cartoon calls Paris home.

So why are Americans fascinated with Paris? I don't know. For me, it has something to do with the simple glamor Paris seems to exude in films and books I read.  It makes it seem like a city of sleepy mornings with flaky croissants and lattes, artistic talent, and endless dreams.  I mean, who hasn't heard of Vincent van Gough's Starry Night?  Even my son knows this painting when he sees it and while van Gough was Dutch by birth, he studied in Paris along with other greats such as Pissaro and Monet.  I picture myself sitting at a little cafe by candlelight soaking up the sky in swirls of yellow and blue.

And of course we can't forget the Eiffel Tower.  It hasn't changed over time, still a truly beautiful example of architecture and design.

Eiffel Tower, 1920
Eiffel Tower, 2011

I think if I ever get the chance to travel to this magical place, the Eiffel Tower will certainly be the first "touristy" thing I visit.  I can't help myself.  I would be such a typical American in Paris.  With my camera and my sad little pack purse full of my traveling gear.  Don't judge me.

There is just something chic and cool about France, Paris in particular.  I may journey there one day and find that I'm absolutely wrong, but for now, a girl can dream.  And if you have not seen An American in Paris, I assure you, it will not disappoint.  It is truly a film from the time when Hollywood was actually great and the stars had actual talent.  Yes - I'm knocking some of today's most famous actors.  Feel free to pick who I can't stand.

Au Revior, my friends.  Je vous souhaite santé et bonheur toute l'année grâce.  (I wish you health and happiness all the year through). Things just sound better in French. 

And why not?  Just one more pic of Gene Kelly from the film:

If I were better at PhotoShop, I assure you her head would be gone and mine in its place!  :-)

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