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Are Oregonians Secretly French?

May 18th, 2010 by Anne Richardson · 1 Comment · Oregon director, Secretly French, Side Notes

I began suspecting  Oregon artists Marne Lucas and Bruce Conkle of being secretly French when they invented Eco Baroque. But here’s a few reasons to entertain the theory that all Oregonians share their hidden dual identity:

1. Wine

2. Food

3. Movies

4. Mass transit

5. Public spaces (beaches, parks, Pioneer Square)

6. Focus on quality of life (see above)

How French is Oregon?

The first ever Palme d’Or (as adjudged in 2003) went to a film based on work by an Oregon author.

In 1939, a brand new film festival on the French Riviera at Cannes was cancelled due to Hitler’s invasion of Poland. In 2003, Cannes went back and revisited the list of films that would have competed that year. That jury awarded the Palme d’Or to Union Pacific (above), directed by Cecil B. DeMille and based on a novel by Portland author Ernest Haycox.

Currently, four Oregon directors are much beloved in France.

#1: James Ivory (Klamath Falls), 6 nominations for the Palme d’Or at Cannes. Winner of Cannes 45th Anniversary Special Award for Howard’s End(1992).

#2: Gus Van Sant (Portland), 3 nominations for the Palme D’Or at Cannes. Winner forElephant(2003). Winner of the Cannes 60th Anniversary Special Award for Paranoid Park(2007).

#3: Bill Plympton (Oregon City), 2 nominations for the Palme d’Or at Cannes. His latest feature, Idiots and Angels (2009), received theatrical release in France, and was seen all across that country.

#4: Penny Allen (Portland), whose latest film,The Soldier’s Tale (2007), has been seen by more filmgoers in France than America. It was a recent hit at the Nyon Festival Visions du Reel.

Oregon is so French, Bill Plympton says that everyone in France accepts without question the immediate assumption that Pink Martini is a French band.

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