When Wes Anderson was shooting The French Dispatch in Angoulême...

Between November 2018 and March 2019, Wes Anderson set up his cameras in the streets of Angoulême. To shoot his new film The French Dispatch - an imaginary newspaper title - he invited a dream cast.

Angoulême, city of cinema

In this film, the director of Isle of Dogs recounts the lives of two journalists from an American daily newspaper based in Paris just after the Second World War.

Of course, not all the international or European stars have made it to the city of Angoulême. Only a few people have discovered the city renowned above all for its comic strip festival held at the end of January every year since 1974. Angoulême nevertheless loves cinema, since 2008 the Festival du Film francophone has been held under the leadership of Dominique Besnehard.

This is also why Wes Anderson chose the city to be a character in its own right. As he told the newspaper Le Monde: “I went around France with my team looking for the ideal city, and Angoulême was perfect,” explains the Texan. With its hill, its levels and its winding streets, it is charming. Nobody wants to shoot for months in a depressing city!”. With malice, he therefore chose the city of Charente to make this film, which has the largest budget for a film shot in France: €27.5m, including €6-8m invested in the city by the producers.

The director of The Grand Budapest Hotel and Fantastic Mr. Fox transformed part of a street not far from St. Peter’s Cathedral in Angoulême, to the point that the inhabitants and spectators did not recognize the city. This historic district of Angoulême is located below, near one of the former entrances to the city of the Valois.

As shown in the photographs by Florian Ferrier, scriptwriter and collection director in the world of comic strips, the path near the Dessaix ramparts was customised: shop fronts (café, food, watchmaking…) were built between the other existing buildings, trees were installed, paving stones laid on the ground, posters stuck on and even snow was thrown. For a scene taking place during May 68 in Paris, the decorators added car bodies and a salad basket. Finally, extras dressed as policemen played in this sequence with Franco-American actor Timothée Chalamet, already seen in Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me by Your Name. A remake of the war on the student barricades, we’ve never seen that in Angoulême! If there were strikes at the time, there were no fights between the demonstrators and the police.

After several scenes immortalized in the city, Wes Anderson would continue filming in other locations. But it’s all well kept secret by this man who’s always pulling out all the stops in his suits. The American director of Swedish and Norwegian origin loves mysteries; that’s also why we appreciate his cinematic universe. If we don’t know the exact date of the film’s release, it should happen in 2020.

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The Paris guide to the 1000 cult places of films, series, music, comics and novels

The Paris guide to the 1000 cult places of films, series, music, comics and novels

The coolest guide in Paris!

The café of Amélie, the mansion of Untouchables, the jazz club of the finale of La La Land, the Hôtel du Nord of the mythical replica of Arletty “Atmosphere”, the cinema of A bout de souffle, the restaurant of Ratatouille, the quays of the Seine of Midnight in Paris, the secret places of the Da Vinci Code, the grocery store of January in La Traversée de Paris , the Bridge of Inception and Peur sur la ville, the addresses of the spectacular scenes of Mission Impossible 6, but also series Call my agent, Gears, Le Bureau des légendes, Sense8, Sex and The City, Gossip Girl…

Etienne Daho’s Café de Flore, Jay-Z and Kanye West’s hotel in Nas in Paris, Serge Gainsbourg’s Poinçonneur des Lilas metro station, Serge Reggiani and Marc Lavoine’s Mirabeau Bridge, Mc Solaar’s Lyon station…

The places evoked in the comics Adèle Blanc-Sec, Largo Winch, Blake and Mortimer, Michel Vaillant…

But also in the novels of Ernest Hemingway, Victor Hugo, Leo Malet, Daniel Pennac, Marc Levy, Guillaume Musso… you’ll find all the must-see places of Parisian Pop Culture in this new guide.

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By Damien Canteau

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Passionné par l'Histoire, les animés, les Arts et la bande dessinée en particulier, Damien est le rédacteur en chef du site spécialisé dans le 9e art, Comixtrip.

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