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PA - C8 - HFC569B : Dark sides of the City of Lights


Who knows the amazing stories of the vampire of Montparnasse, the Amazon of the Bois de Boulogne, the witch of Beauregard, the bloodthirsty barber and pastry chef of the Marmousets ? These characters, but also these places – the gallows of Montfaucon and the Bondy Forest for example –, refer to parts of Paris’ history oftentimes ignored or forgotten. Studying them has multiple benefits. As they mix fact and fiction, they make us see a city from a fantastic or supernatural angle which was a great source of inspiration for writers, photographers and directors in the late 19th century and early 20th century. Besides, we realize that this different side of the capital can still be found today, in such mainstream works as the video game (Assassin's Creed Unity for its « Court of Miracles »), the animation movie (Ratatouille for its rats) and the horror film (As Above, So Below for its catacombs). Last but not least, exploring the dark side of the City of Lights is a rare opportunity to understand that a cliché is a coin that necessarily has a flip side. This is illustrated by the Nouvelle Vague movement which certainly contributed to the construction of myths we all know, like that of love, but also showed us and criticized what we did not want to see : the loneliness of those who are or feel excluded from society because they are poor (Le Signe du Lion) or sick (Cléo de 5 à 7).

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