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Incredible footage shows colour footage of 1920s Paris recreated by AI

Le roaring twenties! Incredible colourised footage shows 1920s Parisians stealing kisses on the streets, dancing in the park and dining in busy cafes

  • Artificial intelligence has colourised incredible YouTube video of 1920s Paris
  • The AI enhanced film shows the daily life of Parisians almost a century ago 
  • The short film features edited footage from early film maker Burton Holmes  

An incredible YouTube video is giving viewers a glimpse into what daily life in 1920s Paris could have looked like.

The stunning footage showcases moments from the ‘les années folles’ years in Paris, which translates as the ‘crazy years’, and refers to the period of economic boom which came after the First World War and the end of the Spanish Flu.  

The clips, which show the daily life of Parisians in 1927 in 4K quality, were caught on camera by early American filmmaker Burton Hunter.

The snaps have been colourised and restored by the YouTuber using a series of AI techniques. 

From flapper fashion to dining on the streets of the city, an incredible YouTube video is giving viewers a glimpse into what daily life in 1920s Paris could have looked like

In the short video, which was shared by Youtube account @GlamourDaze, features moments caught on camera by early American filmmaker Burton Holmes.

In the short video, which was shared by Youtube account @GlamourDaze, features moments caught on camera by early American filmmaker Burton Holmes.

The video caption explains: ‘Time travel back to Paris of the roaring 20s, flappers, bobbed hair, cloche hats, and dancing to jazz! 

‘Brought to life with AI deep-learning techniques. Silent movie actress Pola Negri can be seen at the now long-forgotten treehouse restaurant bar – Robinson Pavillon Lafontaine. ‘Robinson’ was a popular guinguette (a bar where you could drink and dance outdoors). 

‘Located at 32 Rue de Malabry, in a small district Le Plessis-Robinson, south of the city. 

‘The pavilion is preserved today as a front only. Long gone are the bright young things of the roaring twenties. 

The 1920s in Paris were often referred to as 'les années folles', which means 'the crazy years', and is often compared to the Roaring Twenties or America's Jazz Age

The 1920s in Paris were often referred to as ‘les années folles’, which means ‘the crazy years’, and is often compared to the Roaring Twenties or America’s Jazz Age

Women and men dressed in flapper fashion can be seen dancing with one another in the streets of the city while spectators watch on

Women and men dressed in flapper fashion can be seen dancing with one another in the streets of the city while spectators watch on 

Who was Burton Holmes?  

Elias Burton Holmes (1870–1958) was an American traveler, photographer and filmmaker, who coined the term ‘travelogue’.

Travel stories, slide shows, and motion pictures were all in existence before Holmes began his career, as was the profession of travel lecturer; but Holmes was the first person to put all of these elements together into documentary travel lectures

Holmes’s talks—which totaled over 8000 by the end of his life—drew their largest audiences in cosmopolitan cities like New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. He catered especially to the armchair traveler with escapist fantasies, and for this reason he consciously focused his lectures on the most agreeable and scenic aspects of the places he lectured about. He avoided all discussion of politics, poverty, and other social ills

‘We also see the famous Cafe de la Paix on the Boulevard des Capucines, as well as Le Dôme Café in the Latin quarter.’ 

The 1920s in Paris were often referred to as ‘les années folles’, which means ‘the crazy years’. 

It was coined to describe the rich social, artistic, and cultural collaborations of the period. The same period is also referred to as the Roaring Twenties or the Jazz Age in the United States. 

World-renowned artist Pablo Picasso lived in the city during the decade, as did writers Ernest Hemingway and W.B. Yeats.

Meanwhile women in the period started wearing flapper dresses, after the look was promoted by Coco Chanel

Meanwhile women in the period started wearing flapper dresses, after the look was promoted by Coco Chanel

Meanwhile women started wearing flapper dresses, after the look was promoted by Coco Chanel.

The women in the film wore the typical fashion of the period, with steamlined, loose silhouettes and a short hairdo.

It was widely considered the mark of an emancipated woman who was free and autonomous.

According to Glamourdaze, photographer Holmes gave lectures and included slides and motion pictures of his trips, with this being one such example.  

Parisian men wearing 1920s garb are served by waiters in black tie while watching pedestrians promenade along the water in the clip

Parisian men wearing 1920s garb are served by waiters in black tie while watching pedestrians promenade along the water in the clip 

In another moment, a Parisian diner dressed in pearls and a traditional flapper gown and jacket tucks into her meal

In another moment, a Parisian diner dressed in pearls and a traditional flapper gown and jacket tucks into her meal 

The original footage was digitised by AV Geeks and preserved on the Prelinger Archive.

Clips of the film, called Seeing Paris, were then taken by glamourdaze and then restored with a series of AI techniques.

A soundtrack was added to the background to create a more immersive experience.   

What happened during the Crazy Years in Paris?  

After the First World War ended in November 1918, to jubilation and profound relief in Paris, unemployment surged, prices soared, and rationing continued.

A general strike paralyzed the city in July 1919. The Thiers wall, 19th-century fortifications surrounding the city, were demolished in the 1920s and replaced by tens of thousands of low-cost, seven-story public housing units, filled by low-income blue-collar workers. Paris struggled to regain its old prosperity and gaiety.

The French economy boomed from 1921 until the Great Depression reached Paris in 1931. 

This period, called Les années folles or the ‘Crazy Years’, saw Paris reestablished as a capital of art, music, literature and cinema. 

The artistic ferment and low prices attracted writers and artists from around the world, including Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, and Josephine Baker.

Paris hosted the 1924 Olympic Games, major international expositions in 1925 and 1937, and the Colonial Exposition of 1931, all of which left a mark on Paris architecture and culture. 

 

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