Paris Blues

Paris Blues

classified 12A

Black Paris: Josephine and Beyond


Please note: This was screened in July 2022

Martin Ritt
Louis Armstrong, Paul Newman, Sidney Poitier, Joanne Woodward
98 mins, 1961, USA
Primary language

Shot in glorious black and white by Christian Matras, Paris Blues provides a snapshot of a particular period where Paris provided a refuge for African American artists. Amidst the beatnik cool of Left Bank jazz clubs, Ram Bowen (Paul Newman) and Eddie Cook (the late Sidney Poitier) are jazz musicians who live for music.

Their Paris is one of underground, smoke-filled Jazz bars and the rain-drenched nocturnal streets of the Left Bank. However, their carefree idyll is disturbed when two American tourists (Joanne Woodward and Diahann Carroll) enter their lives. Against the backdrop of music (scored by Duke Ellington) and moonlight, the four of them find themselves falling in love.

Presented in collaboration with Bristol International Jazz and Blues Festival.

Presented as part of Future City Film Festival which takes place biennially in the autumn but had to be postponed last year due to the pandemic. It will now run through 2022 as a series of special events with the support of BFI awarding funds from National Lottery.