Sloppy Films Sloppy Films
Paris Postcard

A record of instant infatuation, video and drawings of a trip to Paris in October of 2002, my first real voyage overseas, and to this place of stories and history.

DV 27 minutes. 2002.

Here are some excerpts of the script I read during the video. Some of the text here did not make it into the final cut of the tape:

I cannot see a single thing. I see it all at once or nothing. The faces and the buildings, as if they all shared the same slight smile. The streets and the sky, as if they all shared the same direction, up or down. Every line and texture, as if it was shaped by a hand years ago, or by so many feet or shoes, by all the years and trips back and forth?.

If only there was a word for all this to say everything new all at once, without having to pause, without having to make a space from one syllable to the next. If only there was a way to picture it, each brick in its place, drawing a larger fan, drawing a shape for a hundred years or more of eyes and ignoring?.

Now I can see all these visions completely differently. Now I know how long it takes to get by Metro or by walking, from Notre Dame to the Eiffel Tower, or that the windmill on top of the Moulin Rouge doesn?t always turn, or that cats sit on the warm gravestones in the cemeteries and clean themselves. That cats are to be found nearly everywhere, but you have to look?.

I am shy about my camera. I keep on moving it down, so that it looks at only my feet. I want to record every thing I see but when I do that I am taking images from the people who live here, from the people who own them or associate with them or are them. I want to make a picture but I don?t have the guts, I can?t bring myself to it?.

At all the grand monuments or bridges, wherever there are steel rails painted to keep you from jumping, I can never look up at the view for long. My eyes are always drawn down to the evidence of visitors, to the places where people have carved their name or drawn a message to prove that it was they at this place so important. In the light of such majesty, in a place of so many, they are someone too, and they can memorialize it until the cleaning crew comes around with more paint and a sander?.

When I am in Paris, I cannot help it. I want to draw. There is something about the textures and the lines of the buildings that I cannot understand until I try to put them on paper, something about the way the people move on the streets or in the Places. Or maybe it?s just the songs and the movies, and all the visits to the art galleries. I am Gene Kelly, dancing with my pen across the paper of the city, and trying to make all the lines and empty spaces appear to be something?.

This is tourism. I am away from my home and time means so much more, it has a different weight and definition. It is all about looking and experiencing.

We walk downstairs and thru underground passageways. We walk up and listen to the voices of others. We see many others like us, weary and with cameras. We document our life, or the life around us, quite fully, to an extreme degree.

We walk the streets and take the Metro to many places to try to get a sense of this city, but I do that as well sitting in my chair and listening for the sounds out the windows?.

What made this trip possible:

My partner for this excursion.

The books that I read or consulted.

Some of the Metro tickets that got me around.

Some of the tickets to the monuments and museums.

Brochures from them as well.

The specks on my glasses, like the dust on my camera lens, that keep me from seeing everything, and ground me in the illusion of looking.

The way the floor of the apartment squeaks when I walk to and fro.

How slippery the floor of the kitchen is.

The steps that carried us up to the apartment.

The wrapper that the bread came in.

A bottle of milk.

My sketch books.

Some of the pens I used.

My camera for still pictures.

My camera for movement. And me. Voilla.

See also 5 Short Movies About Paris


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