Segments in this Video

Parisian Creativity (02:24)


In 1928, George Gershwin was inspired to write "An American in Paris." Surrealism thrived, European emigres shared ambitious dreams, and Utopian modernists revolutionized design--but the Depression would change everything.

La Coupole (03:05)

By the end of the '20s, Paris had recovered from World War I and rebuilt its reputation as a glamorous city. An art deco cafe in the Montparnasse district symbolizes its creative atmosphere; artists came to the city in hopes of success.

Bureau of Surrealist Research (03:11)

André Breton believed reason and logic had led to World War I. He started an organization to capture the subconscious and encouraged the public to share their dark secrets and disturbing dreams.

"Nadja" (02:44)

Learn about Breton's book about a mysterious woman symbolizing the subconscious. The novel turned Paris into a surrealist landscape.

René Magritte (04:20)

The Belgian surrealist painter lived in a quiet Paris suburb from 1927 to 1930. 1928 was his most productive year; Dr. James Fox analyzes "The False Mirror" in terms of expressing the subconscious.

"Un Chien Andalou" (04:43)

Inspired by Breton, Salvador Dali and Luis Buñuel made a surrealist film celebrating the absurd. Fox believes the famous eye scene is symbolic for embracing the imagination. The work became a cinematic landmark.

Tamara de Lempicka (02:08)

By 1928, there were 200,000 European emigres in Paris. Tamara Gorska escaped the Russian Revolution in 1918 and attended art school to support her husband and daughter.

"Rafaela on a Green Background" (02:03)

De Lempicka focused on portraits of sexually liberated women to attract a wealthy clientele. Fox discusses her style in a 1927 portrait of Rafaela, a prostitute turned model.

American Songwriter (03:49)

By 1928, there were 40,000 Americans living in Paris. Learn about Cole Porter's extravagant lifestyle. In 1928, he wrote "Paris"and "Anything Goes," hits that led to a successful Hollywood career.

American Literary Community (02:04)

Sylvia Beech founded Shakespeare and Company, an English language book shop that attracted famous writers in the '20s.

Ernest Hemingway (02:52)

The Toronto Star journalist was in Paris to write novels. Fox discusses Hemingway's economic writing style in "A Farewell to Arms."

Racial Freedom (02:41)

Many African-American soldiers that had fought in World War I remained in Paris, founding a jazz scene. Drummer John Betsch discusses segregation in the U.S. during the '20s.

Piet Mondrian (02:26)

Utopian modernists took inspiration from the machine age. View a replica of Mondrian's Paris studio that functioned as a prototype for his world vision.

"Composition II in Red, Blue, and Yellow" (02:08)

Fox explains how Mondrian's iconic work represents his modernist vision of an ideal world.

Le Corbusier (02:49)

Tour the architect's Paris studio and apartment and learn about his vision for the modern home.

Radical Urban Plan (02:56)

Le Corbusier believed Paris was falling apart and needed a modernist overhaul. View his blueprint for highways through skyscrapers.

Paris' Last Hurrah (03:27)

Paris in 1928 was a place where people lived in the moment. The Depression spread to France and the city suffered under Nazi occupation. After the war, New York replaced Paris as the world's art center.

Credits: Paris 1928 (00:33)

Credits: Paris 1928

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Paris 1928

Part of the Series : Bright Lights, Brilliant Minds: A Tale of Three Cities
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $300.00
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $450.00
3-Year Streaming Price: $300.00



Dr James Fox tells the story of Paris in 1928. It was a city that attracted people dreaming of a better world after World War I. This was the year when the surrealists Magritte, Dali and Buñuel brought their bizarre new vision to the people, and when émigré writers and musicians such as Ernest Hemingway and George Gershwin came looking for inspiration. Paris in 1928 was where black musicians and dancers like Josephine Baker found adulation, where Cole Porter took time off from partying to write “Let's Do It,” and where radical architect Le Corbusier planned a modernist utopia that involved pulling down much of Paris itself. A BBC Production.

Length: 52 minutes

Item#: BVL86512

ISBN: 978-1-60057-838-0

Copyright date: ©2014

Closed Captioned

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