The one #SpringBreak to rule them all #LSUinParis #StudyAbroad #ParisTrip
What a whirlwind of a week. From baguettes to the never ending vino to the amazing sights, Spring Break in Paris has been one of the best Spring Breaks I’ve had (it’s up there with last year’s family cruise to the Caribbean and Mexico). I’ve lived the dream. I got to shoot a French New Wave film in France, following in the same footsteps as the great directors Agnes Varda, Jean-Luc Godard, Alain Resnais and Francois Truffaut. I got wined and dined in the city of Love. I got to explore and get lost in the wonder of Paris. And I got to do it with some amazing friends.
While the filming process may have been rough (many of the other students’ plans often floundered or fell apart), it was still amazing. From acting in others’ films to directing my own in locations based on the most popular FNW films, there never went a day that I was not in awe of walking and shooting in the same places as cinema’s greatest directors.
As far as highlights are concerned, my inner film director was ecstatic when my class got the chance to meet Agnès Varda, one of my favorite FNW directors. This is the woman who shot Cléo de 5 à 7, a film that delves into the psyche of a beautiful woman awaiting medical test results while also going through her daily routine. The audience gets to understand how Cléo sees herself and her personal transformation she experiences after reevaluating her priorities. The film (and Varda herself) is iconic for the way it handled a time-limited storyline.
Varda took us on a mini tour of her studio, showing us where she used to edit her films (she joked about how now all everyone uses is Final Cut) and eventually taking us to where she housed most of her still photography. The biggest photo in the room is of an old Italian fireplace with POTATOES gushing out of it – fans of Varda will understand the significance of the potatoes lol. She went around asking all of us about what we planned to do once we graduated and then gave us tips on shooting, pulling from her own experiences and shedding light on the trials and tribulations of shooting her amazing films throughout her career. Click here to view the interview.
The main difference between this trip and my last European trip was that this time around I did not necessarily engage in tourist activities (like the museum tours or going to Versailles — which I’m definitely doing next time!). Instead, I ventured off by myself and took in the feel of the city. From strolling through the Latin Quarter or Pont Marie to getting lost around Montmartre and Montparnasse, I took advantage of my free time and got to take in the city from a different perspective. Walking around by myself really gave me time to think about all of the craziness in my life. It helped me gain more perspective and motivation to trek on and finish what needs to be done. This trip was such a different experience from my last one — I guess that’s what happens when you’re 22 and a little more grown up. I appreciated just walking around places like les Jardins des Plantes, taking in the beauty of the nature surrounding me, or people-watching the couple who chose to break up while I walked past. People walked around holding hands, running after toddlers, or just generally confused about where they were. But that was the charming part: seeing how all of these people interacted with each other. I got to learn a lot about others and got much-needed inspiration for future screenplays. The crazy part is that Paris was almost exactly like I left it — breathtaking architecture, haute couture, crowded streets and mostly-nice Parisians (mind you, they can get relatively crabby at times). The only difference this time was that I was looking at it in a different, more mature “lens” (both a reference to my age and the camera lens I shot with in Paris lol).
And that’s the thing about Paris: while you can change all you want, the city will always stay the same. You can count on the same places being around. But it’s your own mindset and perspective that can influence how you view this magical city.