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'There's A Whole Other Hole': American Filmmaker Reflects On Loss In Paris


Now to a filmmaker in Paris. Max Salomon is an American who lives near where several of last Friday's attacks took place. Max has been helping us understand the impact of those attacks on his neighborhood. Earlier this week, he brought us to the restaurants where people had lost their lives, and the other night, he ventured out again, not sure of what he'd find.

MAX SALOMON: It was about 2:30 in the morning. I had been working on something that sort of not gotten done. And I went for a little walk, and it was sort of drizzly, wet, Parisian rain. And I end up here at this corner for whatever reason. And when I got here, there was a different mood the place. It wasn't the people that have come to, you know, to lay flowers and put candles and, you know, sort of the general Parisian. These were people that at 2:30 in middle of the night just really just couldn't sleep, I think.

And right here, just sort of facing this, there's a park bench, and there was a man sitting here. And he sort of had his arm up on the back of the bench, sort of looking across to the memorials and at the bar and such. And I watched him from a distance a little bit. And he had a bag next to him. And at some point, he - out of his backpack, he took out a can of beer, popped it open. And he started having this - you got the sense that he was having a drink with his buddies sort of the way that he would have, just that they weren't there anymore.

And I kept watching him. And after a couple minutes, he just completely broke down sobbing. But he picked himself up and took his half-finished can of beer and placed it somewhere among the candles and then just wandered off into the night. And for me, I really realized that there's a - you know, for people like him, it's not about the slogans. It's not about the hashtags. For the people like him, there's a whole other hole there that really is going to take a long time for people to close, to figure out.

SIEGEL: Max Salomon is a documentary filmmaker who lives in Paris. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Prior to his retirement, Robert Siegel was the senior host of NPR's award-winning evening newsmagazine All Things Considered. With 40 years of experience working in radio news, Siegel hosted the country's most-listened-to, afternoon-drive-time news radio program and reported on stories and happenings all over the globe, and reported from a variety of locations across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia. He signed off in his final broadcast of All Things Considered on January 5, 2018.