Last Friday, I attended my first Parisian movie premiere. There was no red carpet, although we were just off the Champs Elysées. Having been to movie premieres in New York and Los Angeles, I was wondering how this experience would match up.
The film was The American Tetralogy by Phillipe Terrier-Herman. It stars Andy Gillet. According to the synopsis, it’s a staging of reality that questions the fictionality of cinema.
The evening began with a performance piece titled “Tombées au Front de la Séduction,” by Miss Marion. Dressed as a 1950s star, Miss Marion read autobiographies from some of the biggest old Hollywood stars. The audience would call out when they thought they knew who she was embodying. “Joan Crawford!” “Katharine Hepburn!” “Mae West!”
This was especially fun for me because I got to test both my grasp of the French language and Hollywood trivia. Once an audience member had guessed correctly, he or she was given a mask of the actress and asked to read a little more from her life’s history. It was a lively way to start the evening.
We headed upstairs for the film premiere. As the name implies, the larger film was divided into four sections, each featuring the word “hold”: Hold in Mind, His Hold, Hold On, Hold Back.
Instead of showcasing live action, the film is a series of photographs, each either zoomed in on or out of or panned across, and a voiceover. At the start of the film, the voices are in both French and English, but as the film progresses, they fade into French.These photographs are replete with gorgeous actors: our afore-mentioned Andy Gillet, Sharon Stone, Gaspard Ulliel, Douglas Booth, Ashley Hinshaw, Roxane Mesquida and many, many others.
As an added surprise, the music for the film was performed live on stage by Edward Barrow.