Notes on ‘The Eddy’, or Why I’m Headed Back to the Cinema

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Notes on ‘The Eddy’, or Why I’m Headed Back to the Cinema
While being locked down, and in a sense locked up, as a friend put it, film-lovers have had recourse to regular TV, YouTube, DVDs, Internet site streaming, and (sigh) Netflix. The latter may be a nefarious monopoly but, like Amazon, it’s also a fantastic resource. I’ve been gratified watching film and series fare, including those with a link to France. The best so far, and by far, is The Eddy, a miniseries which has Paris, great filming (some of the episodes were directed by Damien Chazelle of La La Land fame), and wonderful jazz music to boot. Watching the series has been a strange, near sci-fi, experience. Of course, we viewers see ourselves as new-normal, with mask, hand gel, Zoom relationships, and elbow fixations. It’s the people in the series who seem weird: Crowding indoors! Kissing and hugging! Singing and shouting within five yards of one another! But now, post-vaccine and post-lockdown, it’s a different story. We’re back to the old normal. Except … how can they gather together without realizing how lucky they are? Kiss and hug without appreciating it? Go to a venue without waiting in line — and loving it? Nothing and nobody is perfect, including the series. Empty cinema. (C) Felix Mooneeram, Unsplash Chazelle films in a cinema verité syle, with a sometimes very mobile camera, that makes you feel that you are with his characters as they enter a jazz caveau or apartment. The colors are saturated as in old Super 8, and he knows how to select his local color scenery. I realize why deprived Francophiles eagerly eat up the postcard cinematography of Emily in Paris and Call My Agent. But I feel glad that someone is finally filming “my” Paris, the urban neighborhoods that are gritty but also pulsing with life. The Eddy is the name of the caveau de jazz in question. It’s part-owned and operated by Elliot Udo (André Holland), an African American expat who’s also a jazz composer-musician. The double vocation is a nice combo, but unwieldy at times. The business side distracts us from the difficult-to-film depiction of artistic creation, which in turn distracts from the vicissitudes of running a jazz club. The former, aside from being hard to film, can be too introverted and lugubrious for a TV series. The suffering and/or self-destructive artist (as in Round Midnight and Bird) requires the big screen and a director with a compelling vision, which Chazelle, for all his talents, doesn’t seem to have. It’s just as well, as Holland (who starred in Moonlight) excels at his very human, if somewhat middle-brow, character. Andre Holland in New York City in 2019 (C) Greg2600, CC BY-SA 2.0
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Lead photo credit : The Eddy. (C) YouTube

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Dimitri Keramitas was born and raised in Connecticut, USA, and was educated at the University of Hartford, Sorbonne, and the University of London, and holds degrees in literature and law. He has lived in Paris for years, and directs a training company and translation agency. In addition, he has worked as a film critic for both print and on-line publications, including Bonjour Paris and France Today. He is a contributing editor to Movies in American History. In addition he is an award-winning writer of fiction, whose stories have been published in many literary journals. He is the director of the creative writing program at WICE, a Paris-based organization. He is also a director at the Paris Alumni Network, an organization linking together several hundred professionals, and is the editor of its newletter. The father of two children, Dimitri not only enjoys Paris living but returning to the US regularly and traveling in Europe and elsewhere.