Autour de la Tour Eiffel : the long and the short of the story | France
If you have seen Costas Gavras' Eden ? l'Ouest, you would perhaps remember the protagonist Elias in the last scene where he is presented a wand by the magician. When he points it at the Eiffel Tower, the tower bursts in glittering light. The credits start rolling in with Elias walking towards it. The Eiffel tower has represented for long, for many, immigrants and tourists alike, the culminating point where all dreams converge. The work here attempts to explore precisely how the dream of better times has worked out for migrants such as Elias, most of whom have embarked on long and arduous odysseys through sub-saharan Africa or Asia to reach the land of their dreams.
It has not turned out for many as they wished. Work is a difficult thing to come by as Europe is in recession. Not having valid papers only makes it worse. Many are thus forced to hawk small replicas of the Eiffel tower in front of it, for example. Unfolding on a daily basis, in the presence of all, is a small albeit fascinating drama played out on the Parisian stage with the Eiffel tower providing a picturesque backdrop: a cat and mouse affair between the French police and the sellers of mementos. They are often chased by the French police and all of their goods are confiscated if they get caught. Hence, they run whenever they get a tip-off. They can be spotted returning to their turf surreptitiously once the police leave. Most wish to get as fast as they can out of this business, but it turns out to be a highly non-trivial affair for most.
Photo documentary by Indian photographer Arko Datto, living in France. (Hits: 122296)
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