Paris Post War: Art and existentialiam 1945-55

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'It was spring, the first spring of peace. They were showing Prevert's Les Enfants du Paradis in Paris, and at last some American films: I Married a Witch, My Girl Friday and the Old Maid with Bette Davis. I was a little disappointed. Where was the revolution that was convulsing the cinema?

That April sparkled. I sat on the cafe terraces with friends; I went for walks in the forest of Chantilly with Herbaud, who had come back from London; our quarrel had evaporated of its own accord. On the first of May it snowed, there were only a few stunted slips of lily of the valley to buy on the street corners. But the air was warm again that evening when the great V's stood out against the sky and when all Paris was out in the streets singing and dancing.

Sartre was still in New York, Bost was in Germany. I spent the evening with Olga, Mme Lemaire, Olga Barbezat, Vitold, Chauffard, Mouloudji, Roger Blin, and a few others.'

From Force of Circumstance by Simone de Beauvoir, Penguin 1968

Paris Post War: Art and Existentialism 1945-55 at the Tate Gallery until 5 September. Sponsored by the Independent and supported by the French Embassy in London.

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