emma_smith-658x600-1Finally: every time we go to Paris we make a pilgrimage to the spot where Emma Smith wrote The Far Cry. And, famously, was photographed by Robert Doisneau without her knowing.

1476235139692And then, for more battery recharging, it was the rue Cherche-Midi: first Poilâne.


The toy sailing boats on the lake have been there for ninety years. There is no better way to spend an hour or two than to watch them drifting on the water. Complete heaven.

tueThe planting is a miracle of beauty: next time anyone feels low we shall simply recommend that they hop on Eurostar and spend the day in the Luxembourg Gardens. And what a wonderful thing that Persephone books can now be bought at The Red Wheelbarrow! It’s at 9 rue de Medicis, just outside the north-east corner. Of course food in restaurants is always disappointing, especially compared with the perfect food in traiteurs, boulangeries and markets – interesting that no one has picnics in the jardins (perhaps it’s literally forbidden? But how sensible).

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbHOnly in Paris: a weekend there in order to re-charge our European batteries (cf. a Brexit moan on the Letter this week). The highlight was the Luxembourg Gardens, which seem to have had some kind of new look, or perhaps they were always so magnificent: the planting is merveilleux, the happy crowds on a September afternoon are a joy, and every detail is perfect, for example the famous Luxembourg chair, which is beautiful to look at, free to sit on, and there are hundreds of them.

Pawel-Pawlikowski-Cold-War-1200x520And last of the five extraordinary films: Cold War. It has been widely reviewed and is on throughout the UK. See it! Here is the trailer. Next week on the Post: the lower East Side in New York (never let is be said that the Persephone Post is narrow-minded and insular).

5647topAfriSomewhere in Africa was a 2003 German film that won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and several German prizes. Of course it was virtually ignored in English-speaking countries. But what a great film! Glenn Erickson wrote about it here in February this year, which prompted our re-watch (there are subtitles). Very, very highly recommended.

Les-Gardiennes-FeatureAnd a  month ago we all saw Les Gardiennes. What can one say? An extraordinary, unforgettable film: subtle, beautiful to look at, interesting, poignant – very highly recommended. It’s about women looking after a farm in France while the men are away fighting. But that doesn’t convey the half of it. Interesting fact: the lead actress Iris Bry was discovered by the casting director when he saw her coming out of a bookshop!

nn20120804a2a-870x396Then a few months later came Tokyo Story (1953). Mysteriously, we had never seen this before. It’s about an elderly couple who come from a small country town to visit their children in Tokyo; they do not treat them well. It is the most fascinating and moving and unforgettable film. Here it was voted ‘the greatest film ever made’ and maybe this is true, but what about Jules et Jim and Some Like it Hot and The Apartment and a host of others? Here is Roger Ebert writing about it..

5a60de6b55ac5647078b466a-960-495For the Persephone girls the last year has been an incredible one for films (and a dire one for the theatre, but let’s draw a veil). There have been FIVE amazing films, which we shall celebrate on the Post this week. First of all Phantom Thread. Jonathan Romney wrote about it here: ‘Phantom Thread is partly a nightmare of male tyranny, another story of what women have to put up when dealing with over-indulged male artists — though that could make it sound as cloth-eared as mother!. Instead, Anderson’s fine-tuned script perfectly captures the little spats of delicate, polite jousting, and also very credibly creates a tone of mid-’50s England. The direction, the elegant pacing, the attention to detail all bring the impression of depth, when the film might easily appear to merely be gliding on beautifully polished surfaces; it all creates a sense of prickly nuance that carries a distinct flavor of Henry James.’ And here is the trailer.

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