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La Traversée de Paris: Amy Hargreaves' Pick

Part of Films on the Green 2017

"I first saw this film, by Claude Autant-Lara, after I had come back to New York after my first visit to Paris. 
The opening credits end and we find a blind violinist courageously and defiantly playing the Marseillaise on the Paris metro steps during the occupation.   Soon we are thrown into a buddy caper starring Jean Gabin and Bourvil as mismatched Frenchman schlepping 4 suitcases of black market pig parts across Paris under dark of night.  As air raid sirens scream in the background, the two face stray dogs, collabo cops, a lady of the evening, and Nazi patrols in their quest to deliver their goods. 
The film is at times hilarious and heartbreaking, and through the duo's courage and cunning we find a window into the lives of two very different French worlds.  
Jean Gabin's Grandgil, a renowned artist, responds when asked why he embarked on the dangerous and unnecessary caper, "Curiosity- to see.  That's why I followed you my friend.  To see how far we can go...."  I love this attitude and approach to life- allowing curiosity and subsequent inventiveness to push the boundaries in our moment to moment existence. This message continues to inspire me in my life and in my work.   As a bonus, this film was also my first exposure to the hilarious Louis de Funès!
" - Amy Hargreaves 

Directed by Claude Autant-Lara
With Bourvil, Jean Gabin, Louis de Funès
1956 | Comedy | 1h20 | France | Rialto Pictures

Two unlikely companions, the straight-laced Martin and the bombastic Grandgil, must smuggle four suitcases filled with contraband pork across Nazi-occupied Paris. While Martin tries to make it through efficiently, Grandgil seems to create, and then surmount, obstacles for the fun of it.

Presented with the support of The Washington Square Park Conservancy.

#FilmsontheGreen | Free French films in NYC Parks

Films in French with English subtitles
FREE and open to the public


In its landmark 10th year, Films on the Green will present French cinema through the eyes of 10 guest curators and some of the most creative and compelling filmmakers, actors, and artists of our time: Wes Anderson, Jim Jarmusch, James Ivory, Saul Williams, Isabella Rossellini, Wanda Sykes, Laurie Anderson, Matthew Weiner, Matías Piñeiro,and Amy Hargreaves.