“Parisian Cafés”: Windows to the Soul of the City
by Azadeh Nafissi
French culture and especially French intellectual culture has always been linked to cafés. From the political groups meetings during the French Revolution to the high culture of the 19th century or from the cultural revival in the 20s and 30s to the French Resistance in WWII, cafés have always been the hub of French society as a place to meet, drink, discuss and relax. (Wood, Ben1)
My documentary focuses on the importance of cafés in the Parisian lifestyle and shows that we can learn about a city through its cafés. Parisians’ interest in cafés has remained intact throughout history and my film intends to capture the significance of places in the daily life of Parisian people.
From the first time I came to Paris, I was enchanted by its liveliness. Little by little, I started realizing that its delightful cafés were one of the main reasons for this energetic atmosphere. The idea of making a documentary about this particularity of French culture was shaped, as a consequence of this new awareness.
So far, I have shot parts of the film in Les Deux Magots and interviewed some regular customers, foreign students, as well as the owner of the café.
I am planning to include several different cafés, from ancient cafés such as La Rotonde, le Café de Flore, Le Select, and le Café de la Paix to newer ones such as Culture Rapide and Au Petit Fer à Cheval, in order to rediscover the spirit of the city through its cafés. The next interviewees will be students, writers, artists, filmmakers, café owners and their staff. They will be asked why they think Parisian cafés are unique.
Through shots of cafés and the city, on-camera interviews and some archive footage, the true soul of Parisian cafés will be shown. The use of both static and hand held shots will enable the audience to go on a journey across Paris. The result of this shooting style is a cinematic look that enables the audience to feel every moment of the film as if they are walking into the same cafés and areas.
As a Paris-based writer/filmmaker, Azadeh Nafissi grew up in Tehran, Iran. After finishing her BA in English Language and Literature, she traveled to Auckland, New Zealand and studied MA in English Literature and PGD in Communication Studies. Her passion for cinema drew her to Paris, France where she studied filmmaking. Apart from her films and scripts, she is a contributor to several magazines such as The Story Mint and The Culture Trip. Her first short story and serial appeared in The Story Mint in 2014.
What will the Fund-Raising be for?
Since this documentary will be made independently, we need to raise funds to pay for camera, sound equipment, music, editing software and also to be able to prepare nice meals for the crew and the interviewees.
Share this experience with us and show your love and support for Paris and French culture by helping this crowd funding campaign!
1Wood, Benjamin. « French Cafe Culture: A Microcosm of Society? », Peter Kirk Memorial Fund, 2009