et la cité
FOUR adds a touch a spice as it devotes a week to French related
programmes, the highlight of which is a new Storyville
– Paris Brothel.
200 brothels existed in the centre of Paris in 1939 and Paris Brothel
sets out to recreate the opulent and indulgent atmosphere of the
time with interviews from prostitutes and their clients, original
footage, drawings and stills photography from this bygone era.
addition to this, a selection of profiles on some of France's most
influential figures and a number of French related films will also
be on show throughout the week.
Breton's Naughty Bits explores the world of surrealism
as the programme looks at the controversial auction of possessions
of the movement's founding father.
FOUR also spends some time in Paris in the company of one of Europe's
most notorious figures, Michel Houellebecq, in The
Trouble With Michel.
obscure poet, and recovering psychiatric patient, Michel is celebrated
as visionary and genius by some and despised as pornographer and
nazi sympathiser by others.
of France's most enigmatic and extraordinary painters is profiled
in Toulouse-Lautrec which
looks at how the artist famous for his poster designs in the Moulin
Rouge elevated his medium to the realm of high art.
greatest political Houdini is also thrown under the spotlight in
Jacques Chirac – A Very French
President which delves into the life of a man whose
legacy in recent times has been more often than not tainted with
both scandal, inside and outside the political arena.
through Sex et la cité week will be a selection of French
themed films including the infamous Last
Tango In Paris, a film which at its time of release
caused a storm and still invokes strong passions today.
the film line-up are Rendezvous in
Paris, Le Secret,
and Une Liaison Pornographique.
et la cité begins on Monday 23 June 2003.
broadcast times provided. Some programmes will get further screenings.
– Paris Brothel
23 June, 9.30pm
award-winning documentary strand, Storyville, delves into the unique
state-authorised high class brothels of Paris and lays bare the
truth behind these 'maisons closes' which served the French cultural
and political elite from the days of Napoleon to their closure in
Matisse, Rodin and Magritte all frequented Paris's brothels and
drew inspiration from them.
Surrealists were particularly fascinated by the 'maisons closes'
and classic film makers such as Renoir included important brothel
scenes in their films.
were brothels for all tastes, and Paris's Guide Rose, first published
in 1922, recommended no fewer than seven establishments, including
a famous ecclesiastical brothel catering mostly for priests, where
the women dressed up as nuns and each room was decorated with perverted
versions of religious images.
meets clients, prostitutes, policemen, hairdressers and neighbours
who visited, worked or lived within the secret world of the Paris
Kidel's film makes extensive use of archive, including sometimes
bizarre, old pornographic films of the period, and photographs including
extraordinarily evocative work by Brassai.
explores the myths surrounding the Paris bordello as well as the
realities of these unique establishments.
Breton's Naughty Bits
25 June, 9.30pm
the past few weeks an important event has been unfolding within
the confines of the French cultural establishment.
auction of the legendary art collection of André Breton,
founding father of surrealism and national treasure to generations
of French men and women.
Breton came to symbolise French cultural pride despite his eccentric
sexual tastes and propensity to shock.
a time when the need to assert the French national identity has
never been more keenly felt, presenter Victoria Coren explores the
world of surrealism meeting Breton devotees and other followers
of the movement.
viewpoints of a number of prominent French figures who protested
against the sale and the cultural commentators who have been much
exercised by the scandal are also laid out.
50,000 people visited the showroom and the auction itself, to encounter
the 5,300 surrealist artefacts that Breton acquired during his life:
his bizarre erotica and collection of Magrittes, his 'object poems'
made from bottles and bits of string and his four foot Pacific island
statue, which supposedly inspired his 'art magique'.
programme manages to track down some of the strangest elements in
Breton's collection and explains how through this odd cultural dispute,
Surrealism is being reborn in the Paris suburbs.
Trouble With Michel
25 June, 12.25am
FOUR spends an hour in the company of Michel Houellebecq - Europe's
most controversial and dangerous writer – a man who manages
to offend just about everyone and who, over the summer, had to go
into hiding because of an anti-Islamic outburst during the launch
of his new book, just days before September 11.
obscure poet and recovering psychiatric patient, Houellebecq stormed
the European literary scene with Atomised, a uniquely ferocious
combination of high ideas and uncompromising pornography.
as a visionary and a genius, Houellebecq is also a figure of hate,
attacked as a nazi, a pornographer and a provocateur.
FOUR joined Houellebecq in Paris last September for the launch of
his third novel, Platforme, where press attention was even more
hysterical. The book deals with sex tourism.
film travels to Ireland where Houellebecq lives with his wife, Marie
Pierre, on an island off the remote west coast.
Trouble With Michel is an intimate portrait of a troubling and troubled
programme was first shown on BBC FOUR in 2002.
24 June, 9.30pm
Toulouse-Lautrec was one of France's most enigmatic and extraordinary
promiscuous, alcoholic and deformed, Toulouse-Lautrec spent his
nights haunting the seedy, yet glamorous, Parisian underworld that
influenced and inspired much of his work.
just 36, he died leaving behind a valuable legacy of art work that
still resonates in the art world today.
1891, Toulouse-Lautrec was commissioned to design a poster for the
Moulin Rouge, a club he regularly frequented.
film examines the printing technique used to produce the La Goulue
poster which took Paris by storm and established Toulouse-Lautrec's
reputation as the foremost poster artist of Paris.
he mastered a wide range of artistic techniques, including lithography,
oils, watercolours and pastels, Toulouse-Lautrec is more widely
celebrated for elevating the poster to the status of high art.
programme talks to exponents of graphic art about Toulouse-Lautrec's
influence and impact on this art medium.
film also views a series of tribute posters due to appear in an
exhibition in Paris in September to commemorate Toulouse-Lautrec's
contributors include Danièle Devynck, chief curator of the
Toulouse-Lautrec museum in Albi, France; Madam Tapié de Céleyran,
whose grandfather was Toulouse-Lautrec's cousin; Richard Thomson,
professor of Fine Art at Edinburgh University and curator of the
1992 Toulouse-Lautrec exhibition at The Hayward Gallery; biographer
David Sweetman; and graphic artists Anthon Beeke and Dan Fern.
programme was first shown on BBC Knowledge in 2001.
Chirac – A Very French President
26 June, 11.45pm
again Europe's greatest political Houdini has wriggled out of the
shackles of scandal and corruption which threatened to derail his
- A Very French President is a jaunty and irreverent 40 minute portrait
of Chirac, presented by Nick Fraser and filmed over four months
before and after his re-election.
tells the extraordinary story of how Jacques Chirac rose to the
pinnacle of power in France, and once there has withstood a welter
of financial scandals and damaging innuendo.
Chirac's electoral heartland, the southern Correze region, we meet
his oldest political friend and ally Dr Henri Belcour.
remembers how the "tall, well dressed, distinguished"
young man made his way by dint of his "dynamic allure".
outside Ussel, over a lavish dinner, the masonic-looking Brotherhood
of the Veal Head (Chirac's favourite food) praise their 'lad' for
being a 'man of the people'.
now the locals in Ussel's marketplace are not so sure. Chirac may
be 'sympa' (a nice guy) and sexy but many French people resent the
corruption scandals surrounding him.
meet four key witnesses: Judge Eric Halphen who spent seven years
investigating Chirac's role in a huge kickback scandal; Georges
Quemar, former head of personnel at the Paris town hall, who alleges
that Chirac abused his office to provide hundreds of fake jobs for
friends and allies; Arnaud Hamelin (a TV journalist who recorded
the now infamous 'Mery' tape - where a key town hall official confessed
on camera to having been, in effect, Chirac's bag man; and Didier
Schuller, another key Chirac acolyte in the kickback operation who
recently returned to France after seven years in hiding.
then, in the face of a litany of scandals has Chirac been able to
survive? Chirac - A Very French President sets out to find out.
however there may be a more prosaic, and cultural, explanation.
us around Paris in Chirac's limousine, his chauffeur of 25 years
Jean-Claude Laumont gives a rich and intimate account of the personal
characteristics and charms of the man running France.
Producer/Director is Paul Jenkins.
programme was first shown on BBC FOUR in 2002.
Tango In Paris
23 June, 10.30pm
Marlon Brando Last Tango In Paris follows the stormy affair of two
walks the streets of Paris looking for an apartment. Paul is also
searching for a new place.
an abandoned, empty and isolated top floor flat the two meet. Without
introductions or small talk the pair begins a heated and passionate
life is completely overturned when his French wife Rosa commits
suicide. Paul, a middle aged American expatriate is devastated and
feels his life has ended.
on the other hand has her life lay before her. She's a young, beautiful
Parisienne and is busy planning her wedding to her fiancé
affair is meaningless. There is no love, there are no feelings and
they don't even know each other's name. They just have sex.
Brando as Paul and Maria Schneider as Jeanne successfully portray
the contrast between this distant yet intimate relationship.
by Bernardo Bertolucci, the film shows an isolated side of relationships.
24 June, 10.30pm
Rohmer's film set in 1990s Paris is all about love. Divided into
three segments the film follows the trials and tribulations of various
characters falling in and out of love.
Rendez-Vous de 7 Heures, Esther thinks her boyfriend may be having
an affair. In revenge she arranges to meet a stranger in a café.
a couple walk through the parks of Paris in Les Bancs de Paris.
They kiss, they touch, and they talk. But she already has a boyfriend.
Mere et Enfant 1907, an artist arranges to meet a woman in a café.
On his way he passes a beautiful woman and starts following her
instead. When they finally speak he discovers that she is already
sets these encounters in Paris, the city of love. The city has a
key role to play in the relationships as Rohmer uses the locations
to shape the characters' lives.
film is full of chance meetings, coincidences, romance and confused
this romantic comedy Clara Bellar plays Esther with Antoine Basler
26 June, 10.00pm
has a secret. It's a secret that haunts. But it's a secret she enjoys
and can't live without.
attractive saleswoman has a comfortable life. She has a good husband
and a loving family. But Marie also has needs, needs that her husband
cannot fulfil. And so she has a lover. He's American. He's her secret.
Wagon directs this drama. It shows the agony of Marie's secret and
the destruction that infidelity can have on individuals and families.
Coesens plays Marie with Michel Bompoil as Francois and Tony Todd
25 June, 10.00pm
people share one sexual desire. Through an ad in a sex paper the
has always wanted to do one thing with a man but never had the courage
or met the right person.
is in her 40s and decides that now is the time. 'She' places an
ad in the paper. 'She' arranges to meet 'he' in a café and
they go to a hotel room together. The door closes.
that their affair is over the two recount their affair to an interviewer.
film never reveals what happens in the hotel room. All that is known
is that the two strangers satisfied each other.
continue to meet, as strangers, to fulfil their shared desire.
they get to know each other and eventually decide to take the next
step and have normal sex.
Liaison Pornographique is written by Philippe Blasband.
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