4.8/10
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Paris interdit (1970)

Paris interdit follows the pattern of the Italian mondo style documentaries which began in 1962 with MONDO CANE. The film jumps from one strange scenario to the next, including a woman who ... See full summary »

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Uncredited cast:
Ben-Ghou-Bey ...
Le fakir Ben-Ghou-Bey (uncredited)
Charles Buhr ...
(uncredited)
Jean-Noël Delamarre ...
Un adorateur d'Hitler sur les Champs-Elysées (uncredited)
Jacques Lacourie ...
(uncredited)
Natalie Perrey ...
Une élève du cours de danse (uncredited)
Maelle Pertuzo ...
La modèle du photographe (uncredited)
Albert Simono ...
(uncredited)
Jean-Louis van Belle ...
(uncredited)
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Paris interdit follows the pattern of the Italian mondo style documentaries which began in 1962 with MONDO CANE. The film jumps from one strange scenario to the next, including a woman who goes publicly nude on a bet, a family man wearing an anti-radiation suit in fear of the end of the world, etc.

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16 May 1970 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Forbidden Paris  »

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Featured in Mais qui est Jean-Louis Van Belle? (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

Dumb mondo movie, professionally staged
3 October 2011 | by (New York, New York) – See all my reviews

Jean-Louis van Belle is proud of FORBIDDEN Paris, one of his first movies, and one he claims was edited by future superstar director Jacques Doillon (uncredited). But it turns out to be small beer, just fake nonsense.

I had greatly enjoyed a romantic dramedy van Belle made years later starring Josephine Chaplin and Maurice Ronet but it's obvious why he never made the big time. His notion of cinema is more exploitive than necessary if one is to be taken seriously, yet not as much fun or extreme as the all-out gross-out experts (see: Lee Frost for example).

Gimmick is to re-stage "stories" he had heard about weird people living in Paris, whose oddball activities and life styles might amuse us decadent sophisticates in the audience. Result is consistently underwhelming and often just cornball.

First of 15 segments concerns a woman who wins a bet (and a designer fur coat) by walking nude to her car and driving across Paris. To say this footage is uneventful is quite an understatement, and the fact it isn't on the cutting room floor (where it belongs) signals dullness ahead to the viewer.

Next up is nutty Peter Maxwell, seen shaving himself all over. He removes the locks of his wife (with extraneous but telltale topless footage of her included) and we see him in a spacesuit-styled outfit on his fold-able moped, preparing for an "inevitable" nuclear catastrophe. Like the wildly overrated current release TAKE SHELTER, this paranoia is dated and boring.

Cyclamen Angel is the oddly-named oddball who celebrates PDAs, sponsoring "kiss-ins" with rituals including a busty babe making love to a stud in public with everybody touching the two of them in sympathy. Not surprisingly the kook is frequently arrested, and his dream of a couple thousand people remaking the world on some desert island is typical of the cult jerks who populate much of FORBIDDEN Paris. Van Belle's problem is that the same idiocy could be packaged as FORBIDDEN LUBBOCK or FORBIDDEN DES MOINES given the non-Gallic content, and prove to be just as dull.

Yuckiness follows with the antics of a fakir who teaches women techniques of self-mutilation, you know, the old sticking long nails and other pointy objects through your cheeks bit. This reveals a basic precept of MONDO or FACES OF DEATH genre movies - the jaded fans out there for this junk apparently dig being grossed out more than being stimulated by obscene sexual material.

After this fairly tame bit of bloodletting, film recovers its sexploitation balance with a guy who teaches ordinary women how to strip. He's a hairy creep in drag, and the plain-jane customers are not erotic at all.

A hairdresser who gives corpses a shave to look presentable is a boring segment -I thought it's always been S.O.P. for undertakers to fix up stiffs for later open-casket viewing. More interesting is a marriage of transvestites, which unfolds sort of backwards. Stressing that it is strictly a platonic relationship "between friends", the normal looking bride and groom elaborately apply makeup and reverse roles after the ceremony, he becoming a she and she becoming a he. They perform an almost-sexy stage act afterward, betraying van Belle's technique of getting goof-balls and then having them relive/pretend to present themselves for us.

"Worshippers of the Flame" are a cult devoted to cremation, and we watch a pile of mannequins get burned. George Fenn is a "sadistic photographer" from America who has a pretty blonde model pose topless for him in ordinary positions -no S&M is delivered.

Maimed people who want to be "saved by dance" makes for a cryptic segment exploiting crippled folk. Not so cryptic is van Belle ending it by showing women dancing around with bosoms bared.

Neo-Nazis try to look like Hitler in a very trivial representation of an all-too-real danger that has escalated in recent decades, but is just "cute" for van Belle's camera.

Perhaps the film's low point follows, as a guy with funny ears who fancies himself a vampire spends his pension each month at a slaughterhouse, where a poor horse or other animal is bloodily cut up (for our viewing pleasure) so he can sample its blood.

Van Belle takes on religion in an over-long (and tedious) sequence about people praying in church every day to be cured of illnesses or deformities. Gore sells, so we next see a dead dog elaborately skinned and bloodily dissected, so that its owner can be presented with an elegantly stuffed keepsake that even has a "woof, woof" voice-box installed.

Finale depicts an apocalyptic cult called "Witnesses of Noah's Arc", who dress in animal masks, then undress completely (though van Belle has them wearing little patches covering their private parts, artificially) to have an orgy. I would have preferred a corny visit to the Crazy Horse, a seemingly irresistible mecca for both fake documentarians like van Belle or overrated ones like Frederick Wiseman.


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