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Guest Blogger: In The Shadow Of The Eiffel Tower

More From Scott Paulson in Paris

Scott Paulson is practically living under the Eiffel Tower during his stay in...

Credit: Scott Paulson

Above: Scott Paulson is practically living under the Eiffel Tower during his stay in Paris for the Black France Film Festival.

The Black France Film Festival has been lively and lots of discussion continues long after the screenings. The new colleagues that I’ve met are sending me extra comments this weekend to share with our blog readers. The French census shows that Americans are the largest immigrant population in Paris.  That census doesn’t capture race, just country of birth, so it’s difficult to know the actual black population.  As I’ve been traveling through Paris and attending the Festival, it is obvious that there is a thriving black community here. You’ll be reading Festival comments from the African-Americans in Paris soon, stay tuned!

Many of the films in the festival reference the influence of African-Americans on French culture, and many address black immigrants from other countries and the wide African diaspora.  Two lively round table discussions were a recent highlight---particularly a hip-hop set of short films and videos given the over-all title “Fear of a Black Planet” (more to come from my French-speaking colleagues on that soon).

The venue "Forum des Images" is centrally located and provides extra visibility for the festival. The general public has been attending many of the screenings and round tables. I want to visit again some season and participate in their youth outreach program...check out their website!

The festival activities started early with a pre-opening reception at the French Embassy in Paris

Photo caption:

Photo credit: Scott Paulson

A beatific, beaming Bennetta Jules-Rosette (beaming with partial assistance from the flash on my camera) and T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting at the pre-opening reception of the Black France Film Festival in the palatial compound of the U.S Embassy in Paris.

Photo caption:

Photo credit: Scott Paulson

Professor Bennetta Jules-Rosette at the U.S. Embassy in Paris with (a framed picture of) President Obama.

Photo caption:

Photo credit: Scott Paulson

Ferricia Fatia, Trica and Bennetta. Trica is the head organizer of this festival.

At the Thursday reception, Ferricia (above left) sang a set of songs dedicated to Jenny Alpha, a famed black stage actress who is still with us.  A short film about Alpha was screened at that embassy function. I asked Ferricia to give me a brief thought about the festival so far, and she came up with this elegant statement:

"The France Noir Film Festival has shown me images... faces and facets of Paris that I'd never seen before.  The occassion to sing  for the opening ceremony paying homage to Jenny Alpha was a true honor, and her story reinforced my ideals about art/music and it's purpose in my life."

About my more general impressions of Paris: YES!  I am staying near the Eiffel Tower and I walk by it every day!

Photo caption:

Photo credit: Scott Paulson

The Eiffel Tower.

I can’t figure out how to make the shower head work in my fancy hotel bathroom, so I take bubble baths every night -- DON'T WORRY, READERS. NO PICTURES POSTED!  And every night I say out loud, “I’m taking a bubble bath in Paris, France!”  (And I feel very special each time I say that…)

On that odd note, farewell.

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