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Directed by Nicole Védrès, Pierre Braunberger

France 1947 71 mins. In French with English subtitles

Premiering at the Cannes Film Festival in 1947 and lying in relative obscurity until it was restored recently, Paris 1900 dives audiences directly into the world of the Belle Époque, from the turn-of-the-century right up to the first rumblings of WWI. Culled from myriad sources, the film is entirely constructed from archival footage (much of which certainly no longer exists in its original form) and introduces us to the trends of day, including hotspots like the Moulin Rouge and Paris’s biggest celebrities. Featuring voiceover by well-known actor Claude Dauphin and with script work by soon-to-be-famous filmmaker Alain Resnais, Paris 1900 is at once a joyful ode to societal invention while also telling an ominous, cautionary tale about the build-up to war—and how easily it can happen. Widely considered a masterpiece of film editing, Paris 1900 is a must-see for all interested in early cinema and the Belle Époque.

Appears in: Paris 1900