Art & Culture

Ameli has returned Parisians to Montmartre

It is known that Paris is one of the most attractive cities for tourists. Only mentioning Paris causes visual images of Tour Eiffel, the Arc de Triomphe, the Champs-Élysées, and associations continue with mimes, berets, striped sweaters, long scarfs. Hunters for Parisian romanticism aim to visit Montmartre, to plunge into creativity atmosphere, to see, how art is born. Parisians have given Montmartre to tourists long time ago; however one cultural event has forced them to appear here again.

For returning to Montmartre Parisians are obliged to the director of a movie called “Ameli” – Jean-Pierre Jeunet. It has shown “not tourist” Montmartre in this movie and has inhaled new spirit of magic in the district La Butte. This district has ceased to interest the Parisian builders in the 19th century and was considered absolutely unpromising for development because of too steep slopes and descents. Partly therefore it is still one of the cheapest in the city. It is easily possible to rent an apartment for some days to plunge into the world of romanticism.

In 1975 Jean-Pierre Jeunet rented apartment on this hill. Being a 20 year old young man full of hopes and embarrassed financially, he has moved here to save on payment. Probably, in gratitude to Montmartre for his success, he has pictured these places with love and has shown Paris from other, unfamiliar side.

The excursion on “Ameli’s Paris” begins at a metro station Lamarck-Gaulaincourt which is called Abessess in the movie. All scenes connected to the underground were shot here. Having turned from the underground to the right along the street Rue Lamarck, we turn off on a paved small street going upwards Rue des Saules and we go to a crossroad with Rue Saint Vincent. It is the movie’s index point; the story about the childhood of Ameli begins exactly with this crossroad.

Popularity of Audrey Tautou has come after this role. Despite that the film scenario has been written specially for other actress, at latest moment Jean-Pierre Jeunet has invited Audrey Tautou to a meeting after he has seen her bottomless eyes on one of advertising posters, and without tests has confirmed her for the role. The actress has been enamored in her heroine, though in her real life she is a full contrast to Ameli. During the first two days Audrey has read the scenario for 12 times.

“The house of Ameli” is located on Rue des Trois Freres №56. Here is “Attics of Kollinon” where Ameli does her purchases. In reality the store is called «At Ali» (Chez Ali) and except for absence of bags with grain, in which Ameli started hands, looks just as in the movie.

From this corner, having passed along the street Abessess, we turn on the left on Rue Lepic. This is the route Ameli took to see a blind old man off, telling him what was happening around. In the apartment building №15 on Rue Lepic is that bar «Two mills» (2 Moulins) in which the heroine worked as a waitress. In reality it seems much smaller and waiters here are men. However, the interior did not vary since 1950.

The cinema, to which Ameli goes to watch spectators’ faces, is very old; it has been constructed in 1928. It is situated in the house № 10 along the Rue Tholozc. Here in district there is a sex shop, to which Ameli comes in search for Nino Quincampoix. It is located in boulevard de Clichy, opposite to cabaret “Moulin Rouge”.

Jean-Pierre Jeunet really shows Montmartre with deep trembling for the days of his youth. Even the surname of the heroine – Poulain – is the name of a chocolate the director once bought in the shop “At Ali”. Now it is difficult to imagine someone else in the role of Ameli instead of Audrey Tautou though the boots of the heroine were awfully great to the actress. Audrey thanks the director for this role: “I have read this scenario about a girl – a small fairy making good to people … I liked the role tremendously!”