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Impressions de France

Theme Park Insider Reader Rating: 9 out of 10

Movie

Robert Niles
Editor

Bob Rogers and Rick Harper
EPCOT "Impressions de France" co-producers/co-writers Bob Rogers (left) and Rick Harper (right) stand in front of the story board for the film. Rick was also the film's director, director of photography and music researcher/editor. This photo was taken in 1980 at Walt Disney Imagineering (it was WED Enterprises then) shortly before filming began. Today Rick Harper and his wife live in Carmel, California. He retired from filmmaking in the early 1990's, pursuing his interest in oil painting. He can be reached at carmelharper@hotmail.com. Bob Rogers is the founder and Chairman of BRC Imagination Arts, headquartered in Burbank, California, www.brcweb.com. Photo courtesy of Marty Sklar.

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Published: February 15, 2014

Representing Paris, Epcot's France pavilion uses its buildings to create forced perspectives to make the pavilion look larger and more crowded than it actually is. Disney goes as far to spray bird repellant on its replica of the Eiffel Tower so that birds do not perch on the small-scale tower and look like "monsters."

Playing on a 200-degree screen in a sit-down theater at the back of the pavilion, Impressions de France was directed by Rick Harper and produced by Harper and Academy Award nominee Bob Rogers. The movie depicts a series of visual impressions from France, enlivened by Buddy Baker's arrangement of French classical music. Here is a list of scenes in the film, with their musical accompaniment:

Cliffs of Etretat in Normandy: Debussy - "Solo for Flute"

Marais Poitvin near La Rochelle: Saint-Saens - "Aquarium" from "Carnival of the Animals"

Chambord in the Loire Valley: Boieldieu - "Concerto for Harp and Orchestra"

Chateau Beynat in Dordogne Valley: Debussy - "Nocturne 1"

Bicyclists at La Roque: Offenbach - "Gaite Parisienne"

Hot air balloons near Chateau Chaumont: Ravel - "Daybreak" from "Daphnis et Chloe Suite 1"

French Alps: Debussy - "Clair de Lune"

Skiers in Chamonix: Erik Satie - "Trois Gymnopedies"

Mont St. Michel: Saint-Saens - "Aquarium" from "Carnival of the Animals" (again)

Wedding reception in Brittany farmyard: traditional folk music (unidentified)

Railway tracks in hills of Champeauroux: Saint Saens - "Finale" from "Carnival of the Animals"

Notre Dame de Paris: Offenbach - "Gaite Parisienne" (again)

Garde Republicaine rides through archway at the Louvre: Dukas - "Fanfare" from "La Peri"

Eiffel Tower: Saint Saens - 4th movement from Organ Symphony no. 3

Jonathan Katz
The best theme park show in existence. A flawless score with great visuals make this movie a highlight of the park. One of the few things at EPCOT that still has the spirit of the park when it first opened. 10/10
Joshua Goodstein
Impressions de France is absolutely flawless in its presentation. The score is some of the best in Epcot, the theater is gorgeous, the digital projection is spotless (take that, Soarin'!), the visuals don't look too 1980's (*cough* video after Maelstrom *cough*), the narration fits, and the cinematography is wonderful. I know it's a huge source of contention, but Impressions de France is just as good, if not better, than Soarin'. Follow the film with some treats at Les Halles and declare yourself an honorary French citizen.
Tim Blake
An exceptional experience. A not to miss attraction. The scenes are wonderful and the music is classic french. Children may not enjoy this but most likely they may will fall asleep to let the adults truly enjoy the time there.
O T
I like this. You can sit, in a beautifull theatre and listen to amazing music. The movie is very old and needs a update. I'd rather see Disney put some rides in the pavilions.
E G
One of the first times I enjoyed a movie for just it's cinematography. Beautiful.
Renee Michelle
So beautiful. The theater is great, and the show provides some beautiful views of France. I don't understand why Epcot doesn't take overhead camera shots like the ones seen in this movie and use them to make an "around the world" film for Soarin'. I found this to be more beautiful, interesting, and entertaining than the stale California theme on Soarin'.


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