Idea Catcher

By Didier Allouch, host of Rendez-vous d'Amérique


My dear francophiles, francovorous and francophageous friends, in this week’s show, we have a long story about the Night Of Ideas, this yearly event instigated by the French government in 2016 after the COP-21.

Remember the COP-21? The Paris Accords? Everyone holding hands singing (sing Queen in your head) “We Will… We Will… SaveThePlanet… SaveThePlanet…” (yes, I know, it doesn’t work as well as Rock You, but hey…) All those heads of governments decided to find a way to end climate change. Good times...

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Where was I? After the COP 21, the French secretary of state had the idea of a night of ideas every year to continue the conversation around world problems and how to solve them. Yes, a little bit like Macron’s big debate in France, but just once a year. And it’s a success, this Night Of Ideas. The Los Angeles Natural History Museum was just sold out the other night. Hundreds of people came by to listen to the conferences, try new stuff like eating bugs and wearing vegan clothing, and converse with each other about any idea that could help us find a little hope in a future that could seem slightly bleak, if you don’t have a solid tank of “joie de vivre” hidden in your backyard.

Because it’s true, we have to think way outside the box to find optimism today. Heck, we have to leave the boxes where they are and fly way over them to even find an idea that could help. But if we find it… It could change everything.

I had the incredible chance to interview David Lynch, the filmmaker behind Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive, when I started working as a TV reporter in L.A., just a little while ago. He’s a very tough interview; he’s not into analyzing or explaining his work. He won’t help you if you go there. But if you start asking about the origins of everything, he could talk for hours. You see for him, ideas are everything. He defines his work as an artist as an, and I quote, “idea catcher.' He says that he’s a slave to the ideas, and without them, he’s nothing. He spends hours on sleep or meditation, chasing the idea. The spark of everything.

It opened my mind at the time. I was a very disciplined journalist, working for hours on the form and the build up of my stories. My stories were clean, OK, but blend. They were missing a starting point, a difference, an idea. After spending 3 days on the set on Mulholland Dr, a transforming experience, I decided that I would not start a story if it weren’t guided by an idea. And so far, I kind of stick to it. I don’t have the pretention of saying that all my ideas are good.  Far from it, but I try to always have one that will guide my entire story.

So yes, I am 1000% behind the idea of The Night Of Ideas. I only have a problem with that. My ideas, they rarely come at night. It’s more often in the morning, in my bathroom, under the shower. Is that too much detail? OK…

To learn more about Night of Ideas, COP-21, and other events that define Francophone culture in America, read our blog, and tune in to this episode of Rendez-vous d’Amérique on TV5MONDE USA. Click here for more information.

Exploring a diversity of ideas and cultures entwined with the flashing lights of Hollywood, the insatiable energy of New York City, the inspirational beauty of Louisana’s countryside, and beyond - Rendez-vous d'Amérique invites you on a journey to discover Francophone culture in America. Your host on this cultural experience is Didier Allouch - reporter, cinephile, and a familiar face at movie premieres. Click here to learn how you can subscribe to TV5MONDE USA and never miss an episode!