The Parisian arrondissement of Montmartre is perched on a butte dominated by the white-domed Basilica of the Sacré Coeur, but below, the labyrinthian cobblestoned streets and alleys echo with tales of its wild revolutionary ardor, its sordid secrets and its arty bohemian past.
Written and directed by a life-long Parisian, ‘Montmartre’ is more than a history lesson. Layered with archive footage and illustrative photos, the film offers an immersive French fly-on-the-wall experience.
Known in the 1800’s as a notorious place of ill repute, Montmartre’s down-trodden denizens and narrow tortuous streets had nothing to do with the pristine orderly boulevards of a Haussmann-designed Paris.
And then came the Belle Epoque (1872), and Montmartre transformed itself into a welcoming enclave for artists like Picasso, Toulouse-Lautrec, Dali, Dufy, Renoir and Utrillo, and for many writers, actors, composers and musicians, whose songs forever immortalized the neighborhood.
Montmartre kept its cutting edge, remaining a destination for dissolute pleasure-seekers, while at the same time nurturing a generation of avant-garde artists with its low rents and ‘congenial’ atmosphere.
The film reflects life in one of the most fascinating parts of Paris, where a diverse mix of unrestrained styles and social classes offer the unwary visitor a choice of light comedy or dark melodrama, innocence or vice, misery or joy, the sublime and the sordid. It’s the history of Montmartre.
Montmartre...Pleasure, Crimes and Art DVD $250 Pricing includes classroom screening and closed campus streaming.