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In La Base, Parisian taxis chronicle their daily lives in Roissy

At “La Base” behind the taxi at Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle airport, old veterans with their phones film their daily lives and the evolution of the profession in a documentary which is released in theaters on Wednesday.

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In La Base, Parisian taxis chronicle their daily lives in Roissy

At “La Base” behind the taxi at Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle airport, old veterans with their phones film their daily lives and the evolution of the profession in a documentary which is released in theaters on Wednesday. “The first contact with Paris is the Parisian taxi,” explains a driver, elegantly dressed in a suit. He is one of the many colorful characters highlighted by Latvian director Vadim Dumesh on the rear taxi base (BAT) of the Paris airport.

The BAT is a huge car park, where drivers wait 7 days a week - 24 hours a day before being dispatched to the different terminals of the airport platform to pick up the traveler. In 2015, “I put my foot in, I was overwhelmed, I wanted to get involved in this microcosm,” explains the director who is making his first feature film.

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For almost eight years, Vadim Dumesh follows taxi drivers in this “unique place, suspended in time. “It’s interesting to see how people appropriate places and divert them from their controlling function.” Ladies' game, pétanque, gardening, karaoke... everyone goes about their activity to kill time. Drivers ironically nickname the rear base “Guantanamo” because of the long hours they spend there. A life between different communities has been created around the BAT to feel at home there. At the foot of the slopes, there is the one who planted his rocket from Turkey or Ahmed and his 28-year-old taxi driver who brought back a tree from his native Morocco. Meals, job offers, good deals and obituaries are shared within the group.

The taxi drivers who chronicle their daily lives with their cell phones do not all master the image but film with enthusiasm and above all a desire to keep a memory of their declining profession. The good mood fades with the arrival of chauffeur-driven passenger vehicles (VTC) and their fierce cohabitation. Parisian taxis saw “Roissy being built”, becoming “young with its hotels and buildings” and them ending up “aging”, confides one of them.

Throughout the hour and a half documentary, we humorously enjoy the scenes from the lives of these colorful, outspoken drivers. It’s a “job for immigrants,” assures a driver. “If you throw us out you'll take the train,” laughs the young woman with a strong character in this predominantly male environment. For the director, this documentary film is “about Paris, about the people who work alongside us in an invisible world”.

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