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Director: Martin Ritt
Cast: Paul Newman, Sidney Poitier
1961 / 98min / 35mm
Legends Sidney Poitier and Paul Newman duet as Eddie Cook and Ram Bowen, two jazz musicians who have exiled themselves from the U.S. to Paris, where they find romance with two of their compatriots on holiday, Lillian Corning and Connie Lampson (Diahann Carroll and Joanne Woodward). A soundtrack by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, as well as on-screen performances by Louis Armstrong and Aaron Bridgers, represent the best of mid-century American pop culture, yet the specter of American racism hovers like a cloud over the story. To the latter, Paris Blues, with its sensitive depictions of romance and friendship between Black and white characters across the Atlantic, offers a tender, moving rebuke. The film will be introduced by Darryl Pinckney, author of High Cotton, Black Deutschland, and Busted in New York, whose essay about his personal connection to the film appears in the current issue of The Paris Review. For Pinckney, watching the film on a local Indianapolis TV station at age eleven, “Paris Blues set before me a dilemma I was feeling but couldn’t put into words and wouldn’t be able to for a long time.”
Presented with The Paris Review
Introduced by author Darryl Pinckney in conversation with Paris Review editor Emily Stokes