- HOPE in PARIS
- 10 strangers met ramdomly on the street.10 answers to the same question.10 hopes symbolizing the stories and aspirations of each one of them.
- HOPE : "To start from scratch because everything was taken away from me."
On the phone in front of a cinema on the Boulevard Saint-Michel, wearing a leather jacket, Sidiki is eye-catching.
Our discussion begins in all simplicity.
"Cinema is my true passion in life." Sidiki likes to talk about his past, his on-screen debut with Jeanne Moreau and Alain Delon and acting classes that he gives regularly.
His tone quickly turns more serious when discussing his last visit to his native Ivory Coast. Seriously injured in a bombing raid against the Gbagbo bunker he was staying in, Sidiki almost died.
The magazines carefully preserved in his backpack show pictures and articles describing his injuries and the destroyed bunker.
"These pictures have been around the world, and that's what saved my life."
Considered dead for several days and saved by French soldiers as he was standing in front of a firing squad, the Franco-Ivorian actor is trying to move on since his chaotic return to France.
With several projects on his mind, he hopes to start from scratch.
- HOPE #2 : ARNAUD
- HOPE : "To find a balance."
Sitting on a bench on "the Pont des Arts", Arnaud is concentrating.
Despite a steady stream of tourists and passers-by, he seems impossible to distract.
With sketch paper on his lap and a pencil in hand, he stares out, captivated, towards the "île de la cité" in front of him.
The drawing is starting to take shape. "Drawing is just a hobby to me."
Arnaud is a cook in everyday life; he hesitates before finally revealing his hope: "to find balance. It's important, I guess"
- HOPE #3 : CLAUDIE
- HOPE : "A greater respect of differences."
Paris, November 12, 2011.
Claudie is enjoying her vacation in Paris, daydreaming on a bench among the trees in the Tuillerie Gardens.
Her hairstyle and bright red coat capture our attention.
From up close, her tattooed feet confirm her uniqueness.
Half-nurse, half Pin-Up Model, Claudie is accustomed to cameras, maybe a little less to unexpected photo shoots parks.
We part with a smile and a "hope for a greater respect of differences."
- HOPE #4 : MICHEL
- HOPE : "To have a roof over my head and a lil' chick to share it with."
The Sun has been down in Paris for a few hours now.
An uninterrupted crowd walks through Place de la Bastille, preoccupied by their evening plans.
The music that comes from Michel's small radio seems to be only heard by him. Small dance steps and a jovial face leave the crowd indifferent.
Yet Michel is no stranger to cameras and lenses, "hey, you know, I am asked to pose all the time, even by national television last week ..."
Michel, who has been in the streets for 35 years, was a house painter before a serious accident made him lose everything.
Forgotten by his brother: "He has a big ship, but he left with his wife ...", he is now hoping to find a roof over his head and a pretty girl to share it with.
- HOPE #5 : ALICE
- HOPE : "To simply be happy."
A Thousand miles from her native New Zealand, Alice is smiling.
As she sits on the edge of a fountain in Paris, a swarm of birds forms large circles behind her.The young student says she just hopes for happiness.Judging from her cheerful face, she isn’t far from reaching her goal.
- HOPE #6 : JACQUES
- HOPE : "That a meteorite falls on our heads."
A tired looking man, standing in front of the glowing windows shop at "Saint-Michel".
A cigarette almost consumed in his hand, his empty stare hooked to the pavement under his feet.
He’ll be the very first one to answer our question: "What is your hope?"
The discussion that follow sounds profound and surreal altogether, as the character.
He confesses to us that he used to work at the French department of the Interior “Yes sir”, before sharing a mysterious tragedy he is supposed to have been through : “One day I walked in a pharmacy... A man was standing there, I thought I knew him. But I didn't." His speech is getting slower and hesitant. He must be revived to get to the point : "...then I walked out of the pharmacy. I wandered for 20 minutes and I arrived here. You know why? Well, me neither”. The tone is set.
During our meeting the man opens more and more, supporting different theories : ”We’re all from the same ethnic group but we don’t know it yet.” He asks us waving his cigarette in front of our eyes : “Do you know what is the biggest tragedy? It’s other people suffering.”
He doesn’t hesitate a second when it comes to reveal his hope : “The end of the world. That a meteorite falls on our heads”, “Yes,yes,yes” he whispers.
It’s when looking at his own image on the camera that he reveals his name :
“That guy.. Let’s call him Jacques.”
- HOPE #7 : CLÉMENCE
- HOPE : "A Future in Fashion Design."
Paris, "Place de l'hôtel de ville".
Her kindness and her easy going attitude.
Hopes for a future in fashion design.
A scene bathed in the Carousel lights.
And a last smile.
- HOPE #8 : JACK
- HOPE : "To feel good about what I do."
Met near le Louvre, his beard making him standing out of the tourist crowd, Jack submitted with good grace to our little portrait game.
After making sure that we were not trying to sell him anything, he explains us his desire to become a teacher in his hometown, in the « most boring place » of his native Canada and to be happy just by doing it.
Our talks ends on Jack and his friend’s holidays with whom he’s enjoying Paris : « Tomorrow we’ll go to Steve-O’s show. » Invited by the “Jackass” himself, they met him in the flesh at the 3rd floor of the Eiffel Tower the day before.
- HOPE #9 : MADONNA
- HOPE : "To become a woman."
Sitting in front of a window shop in "Le Marais", Madonna, a smile on his face and a comb in his hand,is busy perfecting his style.
Hard to miss him in this contrasted surrounding.
It’s with conviction that he explains his desire to become transsexual: “I have always been aware of my feminine side and I favor it more and more…”
4 years ago, Thierry became Madonna.
Just before striking the pose, Thierry insists to fix his lipstick :“Nowadays I try to have a maximum of fun, especially in this district of "Le Marais", do you know it?”
- HOPE #10 : CHARLES
- HOPE : "To have a world free of conflicts."
In front of Notre-Dame cathedral, a thousand of birds twirling around seem attracted by a single man.
Charles, his arm in the air and a piece of bread between his fingers comes to feed the birds every day since he’s retired.
He gives us some bread crumbs : "Act like I do, you’ll see birds will come.”
Quickly overwhelmed by birds, we walk away to listen to Charles’s long story. The story of an eventful life.. his.
Carreer soldier, from Indochina to Vietnam, through liberation of concentration camps, Charles saw a lot of suffering in his life. But his military carreer also gave him the opportunity to meet with JFK and to be, just for one day, the personal driver of general Leclerc’s wife... His greatest pride.
Then he became cameraman, worked at la maison de la Radio and had a life still full of encounters and anecdotes until he retired few years ago. Since then Charles’s been coming here everyday with his bags full of bread.
"I’m 84 years old and I’ve been coming here to feed the birds with my wife for 10 years.
My hope? You know, I’ve been to the Normandy landings, to Indochina and Vietnam wars as well, I’ve helped liberate concentration camps … My hopes, I don’t have any hope anymore !
But now with a rebuilt Europe I hope for a world free of conflicts.”
- TO BE CONTINUED...