November 30, 2021

At the Pavillon de l’Arsenal, short films tell the story of the “Grand Paris of Writers”

From October 6, five new episodes of season 2 of the “Grand Paris des Ecrivains” cycle are available in preview. These short films, based on stories imagined by Philippe Jaeneda, Faïza Guène, Laurence Cossé… document in very subjective dotted lines this metropolis in search of identity (s).

« I like the Gare St Lazare. Or rather no, I don’t like it too much. Like everyone. Nobody really likes Gare St Lazare … »Philippe Jeanada, author of Spring of Monsters, opens the ball of season 2 of the Grand Paris of writers. That is to say ten new short films which are added to the ten of season 1, posted on the site of the Pavilion of the Arsenal. Each gives the floor to authors, it is their responsibility to tell a little piece of the territory of this metropolis of Greater Paris in search of identity (s).

Fiction, news item, memories, poem, manifesto, the approach is free. Only constraint: that the text does not make more than 3500 characters, that is to say 4 to 5 minutes of reading. ” Enough to identify a writing and tell a story while remaining in a format compatible with the web and vision on a smartphone », Explains Stéphane Cornic, the designer of the series and director of all the episodes, camera on his shoulder and on his little bike. ” How short he explains again, we can see several in a row. »

Catch the unexpected

During season 1, released in 2020, Maylis de Kérangal, Joy Sorman or Alice Zeniter took us to Ile Seguin in Boulogne, to the Bassin de la Villette in the 19th arrondissement, or to the corner of a street in Fontenay-aux -Roses (92). This time, Philippe Jaenada, who doesn’t really like St Lazare station, takes us through the surrounding streets with the names of European cities – Naples, Edinburgh, Constantinople… – in the footsteps of little Luc Taron, 11, who died on the 26th. May 1964, at St Lazare station, precisely, whose body was found the next day at the foot of an oak tree in the wood of Verrières (10). The camera sticks here to every word, every street sign, every detail …

Patrice Blouin circled the ring road on the day of the winter solstice.

© Stéphane Cornic / Pavillon de l’Arsenal

« It all depends on the text that the author writes and reads in voiceover, explains Stéphane Cornic, the young director (born in 1987), an urban cyclist passionate about architecture, cinema and literature, who also holds a degree in art history. ” Some are in the almost clinical description, like Laurence Cossé who revolves around what she calls “the archicube” (a cube in a cube, editor’s note) of the Grande Arche de la Défense. I try, in my images, to remain very rigorous. Some escape into dreamlike tales, like Patrice Blouin who, at my suggestion to tell us about the ring road, walks around it at the winter solstice in pursuit of a “minor deity who pushes his ball of fire” on this concrete ring on the shortest day of the year. I run behind … »

“Quatre Chemins, a small Gallic village that gentrification has not yet succeeded in transforming.” Faïza Guène, author

Sometimes his camera catches the unexpected, like at Quatre Chemins, ” a district between Aubervilliers and Pantin where a large crossroads forms a noisy junction on the Nationale 2 » says in voiceover the writer Faïza Guène, who spent her childhood here. A little corner of the very big city that she continues to love for ” all these destinies, these exiles which cross and become entangled, these heaps of languages ​​which whisper and howl. A small Gallic village that gentrification has not yet succeeded in transforming. Not the shadow of a guy on a bike with a polycarbonate helmet. »

Document the pandemic

The camera, planted on the sidewalk, rather captures three hilarious kids perched on a Vélib ‘, one sitting in the basket, the other perched on the pedals, the third balanced on the nuts of the rear wheel axle , which slalom on the sidewalk. Without a mask, while everyone else seems to be wearing one. Sign of the times. While season 1 had been shot before, in the happy days of the days of innocence, this one documents the time of the pandemic. Provided that season 3, already scheduled for the end of 2022, opens on a peaceful territory. Unless climate deregulation plays its part: Grand Paris scorching, or Grand Paris under water?