Cafés Parisiens

Parisian Cafés: Windows to the Soul of the City
By: Azadeh Nafissi


French culture and especially French intellectual culture has always been linked to the café. From the political groups meetings during the French Revolution, to the high culture of the 19th century, the cultural revival in the 1920s and 30s and the French Resistance in WWII. The café has always been the hub of French society as a place to meet, to drink, to discuss and to relax. (Wood, Ben)
My documentary focuses on the importance of cafés in Parisian lifestyle and shows how we can learn about a city through its cafés. Parisians’ interest in cafés has remained intact throughout history and my film captures the significance of cafes in daily life of Parisians.

Director’s statement

From the first time that I came to Paris, I was enchanted by its liveliness and little by little realized that delightful cafés are one of the main reasons for this energetic atmosphere. Then the idea of making a documentary about this particularity of French culture was shaped. So far, I have shot part of the film in Café des Deux Magots and interviewed some regular costumers, foreign students, and the owner of the café.
I’m planning to include several different cafés from ancient cafés such as Le Rotonde, Café de Flore, Le Select, and Café de la Paix to newer ones such as Culture Rapide, and Au Petit Fer au Cheval in order to rediscover the spirit of the city through its cafés. The next interviewees will be students, writers, artists, filmmakers, café owners and staff. They will tell us why they think Parisian cafés are unique.
Through shots of cafés, city, on-camera interviews and some archive footage, true soul of Parisian cafés are shown. The use of both static and hand held shots enable the audience to go on a journey across Paris. The result of this shooting style is a cinematic look that enables the audience to feel every moment of the film as if they are walking into the same cafés and areas.


A Paris based writer/filmmaker, Azadeh Nafissi grew up in Tehran, Iran and after finishing her BA in English Language and Literature traveled to Auckland, New Zealand and studied MA in English Literature and PGD in Communication Studies. Her passion for cinema drew her to Paris, France where she studied filmmaking. Apart from her films and scripts, she is a contributor to several magazines such as The Story Mint and The Culture Trip. Her first short story and serial appeared in The Story Mint in 2014.

What will the Fund-Raising be for?

Since this documentary will be made independently, we need to raise funds to pay for camera, sound equipment, music, editing software and also to be able to prepare nice meals for the crew and the interviewees.
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