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France

French press review 30 January 2016

media DR

In today's French Press review, Le Monde is all about Paris and its districts while Le Figaro goes to the US to take a look at the presidential race. Meanwhile Libé pays tribute to filmaker Jacques Rivette.

Le Figaro devotes its front page to the US presidential race. "US: the anti-system candidates are shaking the primaries" reads the right-wing paper's headline.

The paper focuses, of course, on Donald Trump on the Republican side, as well as Bernie Sanders on the Democratic side. For the French daily, their popularity is the symbol of anger of the American people.

"Observers analyze the Trump and Sanders phenomenon as the two sides of the same movement of rupture. Both broke up with the traditional methods and approach of the parties by their rejection of the prevailing ideologies" writes the paper.

"What will happen when, to the rebellion, will be added the necessity of finding a new leader?" asks the front page editorial. "Trump's main challenge is not to start strong, but to be able to keep the distance". And that's something Hillary Clinton knows how to do, it concludes.

Today's Libération is paying tribute to filmaker Jacques Rivette. One of the leading lights of the French New Wave film movement died yesterday at age 87.

You might know a few of his films, including "Celine and Julie Go Boating" which lasts more than three hours and is replete with literary and film allusions.

Rivette was the "most discreet member of the New Wave" writes Libé. "What was impressive about him is his complete freedom and the endless questionning" an article says.

Rivette started out as a film critic, like other future French New Wave pillars Francois Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard and Eric Rohmer, writing for the "Cahiers du Cinema" magazine.

French President Francois Hollande's office celebrated him yesterday, hailing hime as "one of the greatest filmmakers, (who) marked several generations". The tribute of Bulle Ogier - an actress who worked with him - to the filmaker is equally touching.

"He was as free as his films were. Like them, he was never bound to any schedule... or maybe just those of film showings" she writes in Libération.

Le Monde says Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo wants to wipe out four Parisian districts off the map. Don't worry, Hidalgo is not going to physically get rid of the first, second, third and fourth arrondissments on the French capital.

Rather, she wants to merge them into one "in a bid to simplify life for Parisians". Socialist Mayor Anne Hidalgo argues that there are too few inhabitants in those arrondissements for public services to be efficient. There's also huge population gaps between disctricts: "While the 1st arrondissement is home to just 17,000 residents, the 15th can count 240,000" explains The Local.

The end result would be a new arondissement inhabited by a bit more than 100,000 people and governed by only one disctrict mayor, explains Le Monde.

If you've ever visited Paris, you know that Parisians identify strongly with their neighbourhoods, living in the 19th is not the same than owning a house in the 16th. Likewise, living in the 4th, where the gay neighborood Le Marais is located, or in very chic 1st arondissment, is not the same thing at all.

That's probably why Anne Hidalgo was quick to reassure Parisians, explaining the reform would be done at an administrative level, and that the postcodes or the first four districts wouldn't change.

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