venerdì 31 marzo 2017

When Zazie met Matthew Weiner

The great thing about living in a city like Paris (I wrote this before), is that there are always so many cinematographic things to see and to do (too many, actually!).
Recently, the museum Jeu de Paume, the kingdom of photography lovers, has organised a series of lectures about Mad Men.
If you read this blog, it is useless to explain the cult and devotion I harbor for this series.
Mad Men is The Perfect series, as far as I’m concerned, mixing two of my favourite things on this planet: cinema (because there is no doubt this is not just TV) and the era 50’s/60’s. 

Directed by Emmanuel Burdeau, a super brilliant French cinema critic, the 6 seminars took place on Friday afternoon between mid-February and the end of March. The only problematic thing: they started at 6.30 pm, a bit complicated for somebody like me, who is supposed to work at least until 7 pm.
For this reason, and to my great disappointment, I was able to follow just two of them, the seminars I considered unmissable: the one dedicated to Peggy Olson, my favourite character in the show, and the last one, having as a guest star Matthew Weiner, the creator of Mad Men:

Each meeting had a special guest, as a matter of fact. 
Somebody who had first a dialogue with Burdeau about a specific aspect of the series and then a Q&A with the audience.
There has been an analysis of Mad Men opening credits, a study of the black representation in the series, of the songs chosen to close each episode and on the place of advertisement campaigns.
The one about Peggy Olson was led by Romain Huret, a historian specialized in US history and in particular in its economic and social inequalities. He is now writing a book about the singles in America and so he decided to analyze the figure of Peggy, the only single woman of the entire series and an example of emancipation through her job and her life choices.
It was an amazing experience!

Of course, the Jeu de Paume’s little auditorium was totally sold out last Friday, for the arrival of Mr. Weiner.
To tell you the truth, it was not the first time that I saw him

Back in 2011, at the peak of Mad Men success, Weiner was in Paris for a talk at the Forum des Images. I still remember that I had to wake up at 7 am one morning to buy the ticket!
This time, it was easier to find a seat, even if the place was quite small.
Well, as Weiner himself said: this series was broadcasted for the first time 10 years ago, and it’s been over for more than one year, so it is pretty incredible that we are still talking about it.

The impact of Mad Men on today’s America society was one of the themes discussed during the talk, as well as the big strike of screen players in Hollywood that put on hold the series for almost one year and the troubles Weiner had at the beginning, when it was so hard to find a channel ready to finance the shooting of the pilot.
Another interesting matter was the place of advertisement in the series. Weiner insisted very much about the fact that Mad Men isn’t at all a series about advertisement. For him, that was just the background, it could have been another office, selling other things, but that world, somehow, was the perfect set for things that Weiner wanted to convey to the audience.
Very funny fact: the tomato ketchup company Heinz, for which in Mad Men was created an advertisement, is now using that campaign for real:    
Weiner was more relaxed and cheerful than at the time of the Forum des Images talk.
He was genuinely enjoying his time with us and he was eager to have questions from the small audience of the Jeu de Paume auditorium. The meeting was so casual that at a certain point he said he couldn’t resist any longer and he had to go to the restrooms.
It was a very funny moment, then he came back and he said: Now I can talk to you for the rest of the night, if you want.
When the conversation was over, he invited people to go to see him if we had something to tell him or to let him sign.
Of course, your Zazie couldn’t miss the opportunity.
I had a nice Mad Men card to be signed, coming from the Blue Ray Box Set of the entire season, so I patiently waited to talk to him.
When my turn eventually came, I unexpectedly had one of the greatest moments of my life, because Weiner looked at me, at the way I was dressed, and then he said: You have such a lovely outfit!

My heart melted.
The creator of Mad Men complimenting me for the way I am dressed!!!

It is true that with my 60’s peggyolson-look-a-like dress and my new 50’s shape glasses I could be coming from the set of the series...

Call me Peggy from now on!
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