Students and teachers at the OTI Aciro Cine School in Paris are lining up to watch the strange and sometimes fantastic new movie “Omicron.” They say it started in the local Rialto cinema and has spread beyond that venue to other theaters and into theaters at the Autorite de Police de Paris (APP) and Thessaloniki and in the Atlantic World Court, in Varennes, a suburb of Paris. The script is derivative of French director Ariane Mnouchkine’s “My Life Without Me,” a film about a survivor of atomic bombing who has been loved by a woman for 50 years after she died young. The story goes that the anonymous protagonist of “Omicron,” plays the husband of a murdered woman and the mystery goes back years in time to when she was first found, studied at Paris’ Sorbonne and allowed to marry the man and have him live with her in a house she had managed, before she died alone with two cats. That mysterious man is persuaded that the murder was an accident and does not want to believe in the police conclusion and huddles with an army of students and teachers — their lives’ work — who live together and work together in the ordinary, baggy and humble neighborhood of Paris. They view the police with suspicion and police with consternation as the mystery plays out.
In Paris, this is a small community — a group of men and women that divides pretty much in the middle into the silent and the attentive, who fear themselves to complain but do not want to believe that in the immense and intrusive urban environment of their city the police are detecting crime, or are just discovering the murderer’s identity.
How strange it is to see these people at the movies doing a scene from this new movie for the cameras and for their daughters, listening to the sound mixing team and grabbing their phones to videocassette the session for the village, town or university to watch over. The capital city of France, where we both live, Paris, is an exceedingly fine metropolis of more than 8 million people, crowded into ever larger areas and where gleans of the bohemian section of Paris is spread.
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Europe has a public debate going on with the idea of creating a single super-government that can control individual countries with the goal of reducing “security risks.” But in Paris, more for the everyday than the political situation, streets and urban spaces are the bastions of genuine security. This is what one can enjoy with many people of any age who are not a threat to society. Paris’ districts are different in their neighborhoodings, their healthy neighborhoods that include fishermen, expatriates, college students and factory workers. In its streets, Paris is a source of human wisdom, diversity and equality.
All residents must live together in peace. Little has been gained from this brilliant 10-minute film, for example, in thinking about what might end up as France’s political future.
Dr. Gregory T. Craig is a former United States Department of Defense official who published his book “Escape from Darkness: Spies, Spies and Spies” on May 2, 1984. He is now in the process of writing a memoir, “e-mission: In War and Peace, the Secret World of Cyberwarriors” co-written with Dr. Anthony Flammia.
Dr. Gregory T. Craig retired from the U.S. Department of Defense as an official in the DOD’s Directorate of Intelligence. In June 1984, he became the first director of the National Counterintelligence Training Center. He currently teaches international studies at George Washington University.