This Short Film Explores The Complex Relationship Young Parisians Have With Their City

Filmmakers, Antoine Guibert and Boris Froment, met in high school and have worked together on creative endeavors ever since. They are editors, film makers, photographers, colorists, developers and in their latest project, social commentators. Paris Parallèles is the poetic profiling of the youth that Antoine and Boris interviewed as part of the project – they approach the topic both objectively and subjectively – they are not part of the interviews yet they are part of the group: young Parisians on the arts and music scene.

The video came about after the duo noticed a rather complex relationship between the city and it’s younger generation. “They complain but they are also proud of Paris and can’t see themselves living anywhere else”, the filmmakers explained to us when we caught up with them, “So we decided to interview 30 young Parisians”. They turned the interview transcripts into a narrative that is both poignant and honest – it is a snapshot into youth culture but also the innate ability in all humans to feel two contradictory emotions toward something simultaneously.

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We see parts of Paris in the video that we may never visit as tourists, we see angles that we miss as we stare into our maps and a picture unfolds before us of beauty covered in grit. There are crowds, there is pollution, there is graffiti and noise but there is also authenticity. Antoine and Boris capture moments of stillness within all the buzz, the moment the light hits the leaves of a tree and fractures between them and it profiles the fresh faces of the city – the future. It is not hard to see how the city can evoke negative emotions but lodge itself firmly in your heart.

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We spoke to Antoine and Boris about the youth culture and the art of capturing it.

The Plus: What was the creative process for the video – how did you decide what to film?
Antoine Guibert & Boris Froment:
It all started when we noticed that Parisians constantly complain about their city. Why, then, do they stay in a polluted, noisy and expensive city? A city that does not always
offer a good quality of life. Where does this contradiction come from? We therefore decided to make a profile of the youth of Paris (approximately age 18-35) by looking at the complex everyday relationship that young Parisians have with this metropolis. So we have made about 30 interviews with young Parisian during last winter. The writing of the text was made with the interviews were we ask them about the city, how they feel in it, what did they expect from it, globally the relationship they have with Paris.
Once we’ve made that, a friend of ours, the writer Archibald Nataf,tried to captured and synthetize the important of the interviews and
translate that in a beautiful and poetic text.We used the text as a basis to shoot. But we also chose places that are meaningful to the Parisian youth. Before we had the text, we made a selection of places we knew and were representative of the city as we see it. We decide to not show the famous places of Paris. Because the reality when you live in Paris is that you don’t go to the Arc de Triomphe or Trocadero often.

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TP: Why did you choose to focus on the youth?
AG & BF:
For us, it was obvious to focus on the youth. For the last couple of
years, we felt like a special energy growing up through the Parisian youth.
Especially in the underground music and arts sphere. Paradoxically, being
young in Paris is more and more difficult. There is a lot to do but
life is so expensive. Even if culture is more and more accessible.
Also, we wanted to show the face of the city as we see it. The movie
is kind of autobiographic. As young people, we wanted to make a movie
dedicated to the youth and its vision of the city.

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TP: Do you think this contradictory attitude toward Paris is exclusive to
the city or a universal human attitude toward their surroundings?

AG & BF: This is a hard question. What makes this attitude proper to Paris is
probably the excess. As many capitals, Paris is dense, crowded, full
of opportunities. It’s one of the denser European city. And that could
become oppressive. But this is also the case in other cities. The
problematic of controversy feelings about the city has to be develop
in other places. This is why we think about applying the concept of
“Paris Parallèles” to other capitals in Europe. And make new movies
about it!

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TP: Did you discover anything surprising about Parisian youth or Paris in general during filming?
AG:
What was the most surprising for my part is that most of the
people we met agreed to be filmed. Knowing the Parisians, I thought it
would be more difficult.
BF: As we wanted to show the Paris we know, we didn’t really discover
anything surprising when we were shooting. Even if Paris is kind of
always surprising for me. I discovered other things: what Parisians
think about the city and how they see it. For example, when we were
making the interviews, I discovered that many
new Parisians used to live in the suburb. For them, managing to live
in Paris intra-muros was an accomplishment. A goal reached. I didn’t
realize the power of attraction of this city in the suburbs before.

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TP: Who wrote and who speaks the narratives that accompany the piece?
AG & BF:
Archibald Nataf is the man behind the text. He is a writer and friend of us.
We knew that he would have the good tone to understand and describe
the city. He also interprets the male voice in the video. The female
voice is Jade Hénot. She is a French actress which voice was really in
a good in opposition with Archibald’s.

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TP: How long did it take to film the video?
AG & BF:
It took 7 days of shooting for 8 months of work (preparation,
documentation, interviews, and then editing, coloring, mixing).

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TP: What is your connection to Paris?
BF:
I was born in Paris; I grew up in the city. I have all my
friends here, my family. One day, somebody asked me if I could imagine
myself living somewhere else, in France. And the answer is no. I
couldn’t. At least, not in
France. So I have a very strong connection with Paris.
AG: I’ve lived next to it all my life (in Boulogne-Billancourt)
and now I live in it. Everything is here for me. As Boris, I think I
couldn’t live somewhere else in France but I will have no problem
living in major cities abroad like Berlin.

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TP: Sum up Paris in three words.
AG:
Open-minded, Paradoxical, Beautiful.
BF: Melting-pot, Parties, Attractive.

TP: What is next for you?
AG & BF:
We think about developing this concept for others cities, maybe London or Berlin. Moreover, we’re working on a project of short-movie with the same writer, Archibald Nataf who already wrote the screenplay. And we are
going to make a video clip in the next few months for another friend of
us, the Parisian rapper C-kor.

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