Building Bastille - The Improbable Story of the Paris Opera

A half a billion dollar project, a crushing architectural challenge and impossible deadline, two warring political titans and an architect who has never built anything.

What could go wrong? 

Feature Length Documentary

 

In 1982 the new socialist French president Mitterrand opens  a blind competition, to build an opera at the  site of the notorious Bastille prison. The jury seems to have found the best design, by prominent American architect Richard Meier. Or so they thought.

Until the Minister of Culture blanches and stumbles through the name Carlos Ott, Canadian. No one has heard of him and he has never built anything.

Hastily informed, Carlos flies to Paris with an expired passport and is tossed into an airport holding cell for immediate deportment. Official panic ensues. Things get worse from there.

When right wing Jacques Chirac is elected Prime Minister, he hates socialist Mitterrand and works to stop the Opera. Carlos Ott receives Chirac`s stop work order with threats of prison, then the money is cut off. It seems all the sacrifice was for naught.

But like French politics, nothing is what it appears.

Building Bastille is a feature length documentary that tells the comic, dramatic and tangled story of modern history's greatest case of mistaken identity and seized opportunity, combining current footage with archival images, and original 16MM film.

Building Bastille is produced by Zoot Pictures Inc. in association with Knowledge Network, TVO, RDI, SRC and with the participation of the Canadian Media Fund, the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit, and the Manitoba Film and Video Production Tax Credit. Produced with the participation of the Rogers Documentary Fund.

Building Bastille was developed in association with Knowledge Network,the Canadian Media Fund and Manitoba Film and Music

Distributed Worldwide by:   Ampersand

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