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Paris Was a Woman (1996)

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Female (many of them lesbian) artists, writers, photographers, designers, and adventurers settled in Paris between the wars. They embraced France, some developed an ex-pat culture, and most... See full summary »



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Cast overview:
Narrator (voice)
Maureen All ...
Gillian Hanna ...
Margaret Robertson ...
Shari Benstock ...
Herself - Author (as Professor Shari Benstock)
Alice B. Toklas ...
Herself (voice) (archive footage)
Gertrude Stein ...
Herself (voice) (archive footage)
Janet Flanner ...
Herself - Writer
Samuel Steward ...
Himself - Author and Tattoo Artist
Sylvia Beach ...
Herself - Book Impressario (archive footage)
Adrienne Monnier ...
Herself (voice) (archive footage)
Giselle Freund ...
Herself - Photographer (as Dr. Gisele Freund)
John Bernard ...
Himself - Académie française (as Professor Jean Bernard)
Berthe Cleyrerque ...
Herself - Housekeeper to Natalie Barney
Catharine Stimpson ...
Herself - Stein Scholar (as Professor Catharine Stimpson)


Female (many of them lesbian) artists, writers, photographers, designers, and adventurers settled in Paris between the wars. They embraced France, some developed an ex-pat culture, and most cherished a way of life quite different than the one left behind. Archival footage, music, paintings, literature, and interviews with folks who were there. Berenice Abbott, Gisele Freund, Djuna Barnes, Natalie Barney, Sylvia Beach, Adrienne Monnier, Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, Colette, Janet Flanner and others. In addition, Matisse, Picasso, Hemingway, and James Joyce. Written by Eileen Berdon <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

8 November 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

París era una mujer  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$44,774 (USA) (22 November 1996)


$44,774 (USA) (22 November 1996)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


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Features L'invitation au voyage (1927) See more »

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User Reviews

Remembering the Paris of another time!
14 June 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This DVD made me long for Paris of another era and time. It was great to hear Janet Flanner's voice and see her in person. She was an amazing writer and human being. Of course, there was Gertrude Stein and her wife Alice B. Toklas in early home videos. The director and executive producer are also partners personally and professionally. This documentary only shows just a part of their lives in Paris, France during the era of expatriates. It was nice to see Sylvia Beach and hear Adrienne Monniere's voice as well as Stein and Toklas. Of course, Natalie Clifford Barney's housekeeper who was not gay recalls her husband killing partridges and giving them to Toklas. Of course, the map idea helped show the locations. Of course, it was not always as great as it appears to be. There were problems of course not mentioned, Janet lived with Solita Solano but had a lover in the country, Noel Haskings Murphy, and when she was in New York City during the War years took another lover, Natalia Danesi Murphy. After Gertrude's death, Alice was left destitute by the Steins. Before her death, she became a Catholic and was cared for by nuns who showed no judgment regarding her sexual orientation. One of the deleted scenes is worth watching believe me especially the fact that Ernest Hemingway lived with Gertrude Stein and Alice Toklas in their Paris home and was Stein's gopher. I wish there was more of Janet Flanner. I do now believe that Solita was the love of her life and constant domestic partner until she could no longer care for either herself or Janet. Djuna Barnes pronounced Juna also ended as a recluse in New York's Greenwich Village. Somehow, the documentary only shows a positive part of the Parisian life and the complicated relationships between these women and others. Of course, Janet's true love was Paris itself. Sadly, she died in New York City. I am impressed that the documentary does not focus so much on their relationships but the strive to achieve in a new foreign land where they were allowed to grow and prosper as artists.

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