Saturday, December 15, 2012

Juliette Gréco and Fifties France


A singer in tune with the times, she never lost her bohemian edge. . . 


Juliette Gréco, a French singer and actress born February 7, 1927, started her career as a chanson singer in 1949.  Jean Cocteau, a writer-director who also met Juliette during this time, offered her a part in a movie, Orphée.  It was the first of several movies in the fifties and sixties. 
 

During her childhood, her maternal grandparents cared for her in the south of France, as her parents worked for the Resistance during the Occupation.  She moved to the Saint-Germain-des-Prés area in the Latin Quarter of Paris in 1946, after her mother left France for Indochina. 

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In the Latin Quarter, a church from 542 A.D., towers over the square. . .




Saint-Germain-des-Prés, by Green Eye


Emerging on the Paris scene in the years following the Occupation, Juliette became part of the café society regulars in the Latin Quarter.  Many artists and intellectuals were infatuated with Gréco's dark looks, long hair, black attire and intellect. Her sultry singing voice and acting ability didn't hurt her chances, either. She was part of the  existential group which included Jean-Paul Sartre and Simon de Beauvoir.


Gréco spent the post-liberation years at the St. Germaine cafés immersing herself in the bohemian culture and its philosophy.  As a regular at these venues, she met many of the musicians, including Miles Davis. They had a bittersweet relationship, thwarted by the mores of the decade.


Home to Les Deux Magots and Café de Flore  (shown below), the Saint-Germain-des-Prés area was the epicenter of the existentialist movement.



Cafe de Flore, Latin Quarter, Paris, by DG Hudson

 

In the late 1960s, Juliette was cast in the tv serial, Belphegor, Phantom of the Louvre.  She was also in the cast of the French fantasy film of the same name produced in 2001.  The film, Phantom of the Louvre, was the first feature film to be shot inside the famous museum.  Other movies:  Bonjour Tristesse, and The Night of the Generals.
 

To see Juliette Gréco in her early years, click the link below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acLHcuSz7jg - early film clips, no soundtrack


Have you heard of Juliette Gréco, the French actress and singer?   She inspired many artists, musicians, and writers. Sometimes, the timing is perfect.

If you have time, check out the Christmas Scenes post on my 21st Century Blog.  You can also click on the top photo in the right sidebar.


Best Wishes for the Holidays and 2013 !

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References:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oieG0DHfISE Juliette Gréco classic, Sous ciel de Paris, Youtube.

http://movies.yahoo.com/person/juliette-greco/ Movies with Juliette Gréco


http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2006/may/25/jazz An interview with Juliette Gréco, including her relationship with Miles Davis.  The Guardian, Thursday, May 25, 2006.   
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30 comments:

  1. Heard of her but didn't know her background.

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  2. Very cool. Juliette is one-of-a-kind. Thank you for sharing the links and all this wonderful info.

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    1. Yes, Melissa. I could have enjoyed being her. The female intellectual.

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  3. May 2013 bring you and your family joy, blessings and be filled with all good things.

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    1. And back at you, Melissa. Happy Holiday to you and yours! I will try to be as cheerful as you in 2013.


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  4. What memories you bring back. When I was a teenager in Stockholm in the 1950s, I wanted so to be a part of all that went on in Paris. I used to hang out at the coffeehouses and jazz clubs in Old Town, thinking of myself as very cool. Juliette Greco was one of my heroines and I so wished I had her long black hair. Thanks for the memories.

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    1. I know what you mean. I learned about Juliette Greco from reading Sartre. She was quite different from Simone de Beauvoir, who I also admired very much.

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  5. Thanks for the introduction -- I'll have to check out that YouTube link. You always know about the most intriguing people and places...

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    1. That's a compliment, Milo, that I appreciate very much. Juliette has that beautiful haunted look in photos.

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  6. Loved Bonjour Trieste. It left a lasting memory from my teenage years.

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  7. Never heard of her, but I often wonder what a life would be like living your artistic dream in France, no less.

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    1. She did that Susan. She heard about the cafe society in Paris in her teens, but said she never dreamed she'd be part of it. (or the toast of it.)

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  8. I have not heard of Juliette - but thanks to you...I have now. I'm off to check your links out.

    Thanks for the introduction to this remarkable lady.

    Merry Christmas!
    Jenny

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    1. Juliette is a woman of substance. And, she's still going strong in her eighties.

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  9. i have never heard of her--she sounds really interesting!

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    1. She is, Lynn. I heard about her from reading books by Sartre. We also read the biographies of musicians we like, and she is mentioned in those stories.

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  10. I had never heard of her. Thanks for sharing1

    I love your pictures, too. They bring back a lot of memories from when I went to Paris.

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    1. I'm glad I could stir some memories, Sherry. There's something about Paris.

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  11. I would love to go hang out there. Thanks for sharing the info on Juliette and the photos.

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    1. Glad to showcase another smart woman from the past. She last performed in her eighties.

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  12. I've never heard of her, but I'd heard of the other people you mentioned. The cafe sounds like an inspiring place to visit.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

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    1. After reading several books on Paris, specifically writers and artists, we discovered many interesting people during the '50s in France.

      Cafe Flore and Les Deux Magots competed to see who could corner more of the literati clientele.

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  13. I'd never heard of her before! Great history lesson, thanks!

    Tina @ Life is Good
    http://kmdlifeisgood.blogspot.com/

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    1. Glad to teach you about an interesting woman!

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  14. I know I've seen pictures of her before and have heard her name but never put the two together. What a beautiful woman in the movie stills. I'll be on the lookout for the café the next time I'm in Paris. Thanks for sharing. (:

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    1. In the Latin Quarter, Les Deux Magots is in the square by St. Germaine des Pres. Cafe Flore is nearby.

      Wish I could join you there.

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