Paris: A Tale of Two Cities

DR 01
Josh Mc & Agnes T




PHOTO MONTAGE: Warzone photos then…

TITLE: Paris: A Tale of two cities.

VO: Photojournalists capture the world’s stories from the front line.

VO: Iraqis fighting for their freedom…

VO: Brazilians, rioting in Sao Paulo…

VO: Americans at war with each other…


VO: Felipe Paiva has captured these conflicts,
but now, he covers the fight at home.


VO: A photojournalist living in Paris, over the last 8 weeks Felipe has documented how coronavirus has turned the city of lights into a city of ghosts


VO: The virus has taken

More than 26 000 lives in FRANCE, most of them, here in the capital.


VO: Under one of Europe’s strictest lockdowns, the streets have been empty… attractions deserted… Entire neighbourhoods shutdown.


VO: Even the infamous Yellow Vest protests were stopped


VO: This week France begins to unwind its restrictions… But the damage has been done.

VO: Paris is a city on life support.

VO: Politicians say FRANCE has been United by the pandemic.


VO: Felipe WENT on a mission to find out what Parisians think about that.




KIO: The hardest part isn’t being alone. It’s being in lockdown.


VO: It’s the end of April and 53-year-old Kiou, a waiter who hasn’t worked for months, is still feeling the effects of lockdown in Nanterre, a suburb of Paris

SOT: KIO: 01.32 Here you can find cheap cigarettes for  2-3 euros – yes. 5 euros. From Algeria. Completely foreign.


VO: Kiou came from Iran as a refugee in the 80’s.


VO: Of Nanterre’s 90,000 residents, he is just one of 20,000 migrants living here.


VO: Most OF THE SUBURB’S WORKING CLASS live in a small pocket of high-density housing.


VO: Kiou believes there’s a big difference between how Paris’ workers and the rich experience the virus.


KIOU: IV 80% of working people have an essential job, whether it is in the metro, cashiers in supermarkets, healthcare staff, etc, they earn the minimum wage and less, they are precarious jobs.

this crisis also reveals that those who are working not only don’t earn enough but they are also exposed to all the risks.  We need to have a close look at who this Covid 19, this disease, killed,. The social class, we have to count afterward to see who died and


VO: Recent statistics on Paris’ corona virus deaths have revealed an alarming trend.


VO: Working class neighborhoods recorded 128 percent more deaths than wealthy ones.




VO: Many Parisians see the numbers as further evidence of a growing divide between the city’s rich and poor


KIOU: IV: Everybody knew that there were disparities in France but not to that extent. The covid crisis put on a big screen, if I could say, revealed that the disparities are getting deeper and they jump out


VO: In Nanterre, this divide can be seen in the one neighbourhood.


KIO: IV: This neighbourhood is a bit special there are a lot of poor people here but it is a chic neighbourhood, Paris suburb


VO: Nanterre is a rapidly gentrifying area – rich and poor are separated by a few streets, but have very different experiences of the virus


VO: In the poorer parts, shops are closed…


VO:  Food queues are long…


SOT: KIO: This is how one side lives. I’ll show you the other side.



VO: In contrast, the wealthy parts of Nanterre and neighbouring Garrente are quiet.


VO: Here, people can work from home.


AND Many businesses are open, including ones you wouldn’t say are essential.


SOT: Kiou: the chocolatier is open”


FELIPE: IV: We hear a lot in the media that covid attacks all parts of society equally but in fact theoretically its possible socially it snot what happens


KIOU: IV: When we see disparities in certain suburbs compared to another its very noticeable. A lot of people prefer to be blind to the disparities





Volunteers pile food into boxes.


VO: Not everyone is turning a blind eye to those doing it tough.

SOT:  Are you packing the fruits and vegetables

VO: Since the pandemic, there’s been rising demand for food handouts.

VO: This group of local women is preparing food parcels, for Nanterre’s struggling families.

SOT: AURIELE: This is Sarah, we are both co-chairwomen of the association Nanterre Solidaire.


SOT: SARAH: So yeah, we created the association in early 2020 with Aurélie. It started because we've been made aware of a family who was in need... So at first, it began as a uniting chain between neighbors, but then it grew a lot, we receive a huge amount of requests from families,


SOT:  We’re not clapping for doctors, but for ourselves!




VO: Nanterre Solidare hope to bridge the gap by, collecting food and donations from the suburbs more fortunate and delivering them to those in need.  

SOT: MAN: Thank you madame…

VO: They’ve become a welcome sight around Nanterre, especially to the neighborhood’s, isolated mums.

SOT: AURÉLIE: Well here it is.

SOT: LADY: Yeah thank you.

SOT: AURÉLIE – Do you want me to put this in the...

SOT: LADY: By the elevator ? Yeah, then I'll be fine, I live just behind the elevator


SOT: AURÉLIE: How are you princesses ? Not too hard to stay at home ?


AURIEL: IV: The divide has widened, and it totally shows. Especially with families who are confined in extremely derelict housing, again, when five or six people are stuck in studio apartments, with mould, cockroaches, bedbugs, while others keep getting some income,




VO: One of Aurelie and Sarah’s regular visits is to a single mum with 3 young children.


Her entire family has spent the last 8 weeks inside a tiny, one-bedroom apartment. WITH THE CHILDREN SLEEPING ON BUNKS IN THE KITCHEN


SOT:  AURÉLIE: How are you today?

SOT: LADY: We're good thank you. It's kind.

SOT:  AURÉLIE: Do you need anything else?

SOT: LADY: No, I'm good for now. Thank you



SOT:  AURÉLIE: Don't hesitate to send us a message. You also have my number


SOT: LADY: OK, thank you it's very nice.


SOT: SARAH: The three of them are (sleeping) here ?


SOT:  AURÉLIE: The four of them (four yes, says the lady)


SOT: SARAH: You live with your three kids just here ? (yes, yes)

SOT: LADY: No, we've also got a small room next door


SOT: SARAH: Can we take a look at it ?

SOT: LADY: Yes sure, go on.

SOT: KID: But our baby is sleeping... We put him to sleep before...


SOT: SARAH: Indeed, it is small. That's all the space you've got ?


SOT: FELIPE: Ah, no, he's not sleeping !

SOT: SARAH: Coucou ! (Hello?)


SOT: KID: My room over there, it's still messy.

SOT:  AURÉLIE: I guess you've been playing in there... Right ?



There is a difference between being confined in 20 metre square or 100 metre square…We all know that things are hard in Nanterre, there are people living beneath the poverty threshold and in very difficult situations. So, the confinement restrictions are not really respected here. 




VO: During lockdown in Paris, the majority of fines have been issued in poorer areas for leaving home without a permit.

Sot: You’re outside. That’s 135 euros.

VO: Under privileged residents claim they have been unfairly targeted by police and recently tensions between the two, boiled over.


VO: On April 20, riots broke out in a housing estate in Villeneuve La Garrene, spreading across the city’s working class areas for 5 nights.


Sot: That’s the last straw!

VO: Nanterre saw violence, torched cars, damaged property and arrests - all during lockdown

VO: Residents feared an increased police presence would lead to further violence and harsher restrictions.


VO: For those living away from these areas, it’s a completely different story.






VO: A trip to the inner suburbs reveals a very different Paris.

SCOTT: SOT: This is Paris on a beautifu, beautiful day – look at that, but empty, nobody there. It's a great place to live. Great place to be when you can get outside the house.


VO: Scott Hillier a filmmaker originally from Queensland -

is in lockdown with his French wife, their daughter and her boyfriend, in an apartment block in the city center.


SCOTT: IV: We live in about 19 square meters. Um, 95 of the balconies. it's a fabulous place to live in the 17th Arrondisment, I’m not far from Arc De Triomphe. It's a nice neighbourhood its not far from Sacre Couer, a little bit bourgeous, too bourgeous for me. I have no idea how they, let me live here


SOT: SCOTT’S DAUGHTER: this is the final touch of the chef


VO: By Paris standards. The family, are comfortably middle class, but like many in the city, they’ve had to adapt to eight weeks indoors.


SCOTT: IV You don't go, we don't go shopping in supermarkets, we don't do anything like that. We order in food. It arrives in the elevator. You leave it outside for six hours, you put it out in the balcony.


SCOTT: IV: Now there's many, many other people. Other people all around the world who are doing far worse than we are. We have food, we've got, you know, families around and whatever. We can't complain. It's just a, it's just a, definitely a very interesting experience. 

VO: Scott has lived in Paris for 20 years. He runs a local film festival and has seen the gap between rich and poor widen during his time here.


SCOTT: IV: The class divide in Paris is, is quite obvious because there's the inside Paris and then there's the outside Paris, the [inaudible] the suburbs, Paris, it's tiny - and as they've got a big world around it called the peripheric and everything inside is like a museum.

The pavements of Paris are cleaned and swept every single day. Wash down once a week. They spend a lot of money on keeping it, this sort of museum quality. Beautiful. Then when you get outside the peripheric, it's a different world the suburbs, the slums, the whatever, it's just mindblowing. Many, many Parisians just don't go there, they wouldn’t understand what its like.

VO: But during the pandemic, Scott believes there is one thing that has united the city.


SCOTT: IV: The economy is shattered.
You know, we’re officially in recession. My business is on its knees - that's been the great equalizer. The idea that the France is in recession and it's not going to get better any day soon has been very interesting cause I, I believe that the lockdown has equalizers or where we're all in, in lockdown. 

SCOTT: IV: You’re rich, white, got a big house – you’re the same as a Senegalese migrant living in the suburbs right now, except there's 20 of them in the, in the apartment. Everybody's been affected by this.


SCOTT: IV: But to be honest, most French people are just concerned about getting through the day, getting back to work. And I think that this has been a great, great equalizer. But everybody's there. We now have to work together to actually to actually beat this.

VO: But has COVID 19 shown that Paris doesn’t want to work together?




VO: IN EARLY MARCH  - JUST Ahead of the lockdown over one million Parisians fled the capital.

(Orange phone data)


VO: Those wealthy enough travelled to their second homes to see out quarantine in more comfort and space in places like this.


VO: The Island of Noirmoutier was one holiday destination to see a surge of people from Paris and neighboring cities like this dentist.




20.47 J/Rolling. So, what was the impact of covid, of the confinement, for you –


We live in Nantes and we came here to settle in our holiday home in Noirmoutiers, for two months, with our children.

J/ And why did you prefer to stay here, and not –

Woman/ Because we have a backyard, we have a bigger house and we weren’t in the CBD. More like in “vacation mode”.


But as the holiday makers flooded in…. the locals feared the virus would spread.

01:30 – It's true that lots of people came to the island and it created a bit of fear... It created fear, because we didn't know, they came from places where there are lots of Covid 19 cases, and they're arriving in a place where there are not many, taht is a bit secluded, where population is less dense, so it generated fear. People went to the supermarkets... Many of them went to the supermarkets, to do their shopping to fill in their holiday homes to come and stay (here). 02:06


The locals like Herve felt the town did not have the food or medical resources to cope with this sudden population increase.


2:13 Hervé –in summer, the population increases tenfold on the island.


When you know that summer is coming, the town is getting ready for it, doctors are coming over as reinforcement. But this time, it happened so fast, we feared to be in what we call a « medical desert », with hospitals being far away... In Challans, that's a half hour drive... Plus the (local) population on the island is quite old and ageing,


Do you have an estimate of how many people came over ? 

03:38 Hervé – No idea. We don't know... People arrive in their holiday houses, they put their cars in their garage and stay at home.


VO: In the lead up to this week’s easing of lockdown measures - the wealthy started returning to the city.

VO: In the end
Noirmoutier had only a few cases of COVID 19 -  far fewer than the number of verbal abuse, vandalism and property damage complaints made by holidaymakers during their stay here.

VO: In recent years it’s become almost sport, to rally against the rich in France.


VO: And one group is preparing to get back in the game.



FILE: FOOTAGE: Yellow Vest Protest


VO: In November 2018 a group of rural delivery drivers protesting tax increases on fuel, sparked a movement that made headlines around the world.


VO: For 15 months, France’s yellow vest protesters took to the streets demanding fairer taxation, working and living conditions for the lower and middle class


VO: Named after the safety vests worn by French delivery drivers, every Saturday, huge rallies shut down cities around the country.


VO: Central Paris often became a battleground with brutal exchanges between protesters and police.


VO: For many Saturdays, Felipe captured the protests



VO: and in the middle of it all was an unlikely face from Nanterre. Mild-mannered waiter Kiou 




KIOU: SOT: – Here’s my vest. Normally, every yellow vest has something written on the back. Here’s mine. 


A man isn’t stupid or intelligent. He’s free or he isn’t. 


VO: Kiou helped organize the mass rallies across Paris, and is one of the faithful


KIOU: SOT: To me, a yellow vest in France today is someone who is part of an apolitical social movement. But to be a yellow vest is also to be constantly fighting against inequalities and for freedom.  

VO: But on March 14 coronavirus finally put an end to the protests.

16:00 Felipe - what do you think of people, Parisians, who think the yellow vest movement is dead?  


16:07 Kiou - They predicted the movement would die. And we’re still here. We’ll show we’re still prepared to fight against inequalities and for freedom. Those people will keep seeing us in the streets for as long as it takes. 



16:24 Yellow vester – When the body’s in lockdown, the mind can be too.  


VO: The Yellow Vests are far from done

VO: Less than two weeks before lockdown restrictions are set to be relaxed, organizers meet secretly to discuss ways to revive the protests


16:35 Yellow vester – There’s a text on our demands and a text on the coordination of the yellow vests. 


VO: But some don’t want to wait until free movement is allowed - they want to stage an outdoor rally on May 1st, French labor day.

VO: A traditional day for union marches and strikes, Last year, May first saw particularly violent clashes in Paris.

18:12 french yellow vest sot not subbed?


VO: Now Kiou and the group are arguing whether defying lockdown rules and restarting their protests on May 1st is a good idea. 



17:01 Yellow vester – That’s not what I wanted to do  

17:11 Yellow vester  It will only happen if the measures taken to fight the epidemic have a positive outcome 


17:27 Kiou – We’ve discussed it. But we couldn’t agree on one course of action. Some have decided in every neighbourhood to put out placards on the balconies. Others have decided to demonstrate in their neighbourhood by gathering at a roundabout. 


18:02 Felipe – What will you do? 


18:04 Kiou  I’d rather go to a roundabout to protest alongside other yellow vests. That small protest at a roundabout on Labour Day 2020 will be the first under lockdown and hopefully the last to be held that way. 





VO: If the yellow vests do return to the streets, not everyone in Paris would give them a warm welcome.

SCOTT: IV: I hope there is no future for the yellow vest movement. I um, I would like them to think that we're all in this together right now. There's a battle bigger than any movement right now and that's to get this country's economy going, just to make sure that we can all move forward together.


VO: Prior to the pandemic - The mass protests hurt many French businesses including Scott’s

SCOTT: IV: you know, for three months of the year nobody would come to France to work because they saw these pictures of riots in the streets.


VO: Scott believes  - with the instability and economic fallout from coronavirus - the nation won’t tolerate any more unrest

SCOTT: IV: Most French people like saying, you know, they've got the right to protest, they can protest.


SCOTT: IV: But after this pandemic, they've lost people, they’ve lost a lot of people.


I don't think the French will have the patience for that. The French public one has the patience for that.





Coming up…


Protestors take to the streets on labor day…

But may not get the welcome they were hoping for…










Across Paris, it’s Labor Day in lockdown. 


These streets would normally be filled with workers marching for their rights but this year the government and unions have pleaded with workers to stay home and respect the lockdown. 


But for many, this May Day is the most important yet.   




VO: Nanterre’s Kiou hopes Yellow Vest Protestors to will take to the streets alongside him and restart their movement.

KIOU: IV:  It’s the first time this day takes place during a lockdown., The yellow vests, we are also going to celebrate the Republic, together in various neighborhoods of Paris and its suburbs and all around France.


VO: Kiou’s confident, others will join at this park in central Paris, for a small protest.  


VO: But the police may not let them.


KIO: SOT: Wow!

00.23 K/ You see the policemen over there? Look at the number of policemen! Wow!

00.43 Journalist/ You see your comrades?

K/ For the moment, no.


VO: In the face of overwhelming police numbers, a small group of union members begins a chant…

SOT: Viva! Long live May!

VO: They’re not yellow vests, but Kiou joins them in solidarity.


VO: The Police move quickly to shut them down. 

Cop/ Check this gentleman, please.

Cop/ Sir, good morning, can you show your written statement.

04.06 K/ Not a problem.

Cop/ Sir, please proceed.

K/ I am just waiting for him to finish, so she can take the banner back and I’ll show you.

Cop/ No, put your banner under your arm. This is a police check, Sir, you’re going to show us-

Woman/ Wait, I’ll take the banner and then -

04.23 Cop/ Sir, I am talking to you Look at me when I speak to you.

K/ I looked at you and I replied to you.

Cop/ Ok. You were looking somewhere else.


VO: Then what seems like a peaceful protest takes a turn.

SOT: Mayhem breaks out.


VO: Kiou is detained.

SOT: FELIPE: Are you okay Kiou?

SOT: KIOU: Yes, for now.

VO: Kiou is led away.

FELIPE: Can I follow you?

COP: Keep your distance.

VO: And discovers the cost of disobeying lockdown.


K/ This gentleman just gave orders, they will fine every protester and they’ll take us to the metro so we can go back home.

Journalist/ How much is the fine?

K/ That’s 135 euros, the fine?

Cop offscreen/ That’s right, Sir.

K/ 135 euros for the moment.

Journalist/ That’s the confinement

Cop/. This  protest is not allowed within the Covid situation.

K/ We’re in the stat e of emergency and we don’t have the freedom to protest

Cop/ No, you don’t have it because you started a riot and you impacted on other people’s lives and we had to –

K/ But we didn’t start anything, we’re just here to protest.



VO: The rally last less than 30mins… There are several arrests and many fines. The protestors are furious…

Woman/ I thought there would be more of us, becaa use, in fact, it’s been weeks we’ve boiled to express ourselves against the carelessness of this government who have blood on their hands, for all the vulnerable people.






Kiou – So they’re waiting at the Montreuil town Hall, where a lot of police are waiting to the yellow vests to arrest them.


VO: Despite his heavy fine, Kiou heads to a second protest in nearby Montriuel

02.52 K/[INAUDIBLE] Are there people over there?

Woman/ They keep us from entering the square. We can’t access.

Man/ The riot squad i1 s everywhere, we almost got fined.

K/ There’s only police?

Man/ Well, there are other people like us, but it’s full of cops.

K/ It’s full of cops.

VO: There’s confusion as protestors try to avoid police.


K/ I was told, City Hall - Over there is full of cops, that’s why we’re going -

Man/ There, it’s full of them too.

K/ Ok. Good luck!

VO: Eventually Kiou converges with a group near the city hall…

3.36 Man shouting/ State of emergency, police state. You won’t stop us from protesting.

VO: … and 8 weeks since the last protest, the yellow vest finally come back…

Chant/ State of emergency, police state. You won’t stop us from protesting.

Chant (K joins in)/ State of emergency, police state. You won’t stop us from protesting


VO: But the sight of yellow has some seeing red.

Cop off screen/ Prepare your written statement of circulation, your ID, and take of your yellow vest.

05.23 K/ In the state of emergency it doesn’t say that the yellow vest is forbidden.

Cop off screen/ Take off your yellow vest, Sir.

Cop off screen/ Show me your identification papers, please, Sir.

Woman/ Listen to what they tell you.

K/ Why?

Woman off screen/ There’s no reason.

Woman/ I don’t know. You’d stay out of trouble.

K/ The law doesn’t say it. We listen to the law.

Woman off screen/ If someone asks me to get naked here, I’m not going to do it.

Woman/ All right.

05.45 K/ Law is freedom, M’am.

VO: After only 5 mins, Kiou is fined again… and the protestors decide to move along. 

08.05 K/ Well, let’s go, then. We can go?

Cop/ if you leave the protest, Sir, you can go.


VO: For Kiou it’s time to call it a day. For him, a fine of 335 euros is a small price to pay for his freedom of speech.

Kiou –it's the day government was expecting to see if we're still alive, wondering if we were going to get out and use this day to see if we're still there or not. As you can see, we're still around...


Kiou – I think we'll keep going, even better and even more united, with more and more of us, in this struggle for freedom and equality... Especially with what just happened... shortage of supplies, for hospitals, for schools, and other economical and social issues that have just been exposed by this coronavirus crisis.






VO: As lockdown measures start to unwind, Paris is coming back to life.


VO: Businesses can re-open with only restaurants and cafes remaining closed.

More people can travel to work on public transport


And primary schools are welcoming Kids back to class.


They’re only small changes – but already there’s something on the streets paris has been missing for months… hope

SARAH: IV: Yes indeed, I think things will change after the 11th May at the end of the lockdown, there is a true surge of solidarity that started with the confinement and I think it will persist.

SCOTT: IV: when this, when this starts opening up again on May the 11th. It's going to be as a human experiments can be very interesting We're all hoping it's going to work again.

KIOU: IV:, I know that things won’t be the same as before because this Covid changed a lot of things, But we’ll go out together and converge to have at least a better life after all this, a changed life

VO: For photo journalist Felipe, a united Paris would mean the world.

VO: During lockdown his wife gave birth to their first child, a baby girl.

VO: The kind of city she grows up in, all depends on the next few months.

VO: The road out of COVID will take care, courage, and the continued service of the essential workers who Paris celebrates each day.

VO: Because of them, the city endures – and that knowledge is something that does seem to unite Paris.











© 2019 Journeyman Pictures
Journeyman Pictures Ltd. 4-6 High Street, Thames Ditton, Surrey, KT7 0RY, United Kingdom

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