ParisJanuary. 19,2008 R
Prime Video Movies
Pierre, a professional dancer, suffers from a serious heart disease. While he is waiting for a transplant which may (or may not) save his life, he has nothing better to do than look at the people around him, from the balcony of his Paris apartment.
I could watch any film starring the beautiful and talented French actress Juliette Binoche and have seen most of her England-language work, but naturally most of her 40 or so movies are in her first language, including this one from 2008."Paris" is not just a French film, it is a quintessentially Gallic flic. Writer and director Cedric Klapisch makes the eponymous capital city almost an actor in itself with plentiful shots of familiar and unfamiliar locations and typical French spots like the cafe, the boulangerie, and the food market. Also tres Francais is the plentiful dialogue, the existential angst, the beautiful women, the mandatory intellectual, and the odd couplings (although the actual sex is never seen), while Klapisch gives us unconnected characters (Paris is the only thread) and unresolved lives (more like real life than reel life).Binoche plays a social worker who clearly takes her professional work seriously because she is herself a single mother of three children and needs to take time off work to care for her brother (Romain Duris) who has a heart condition that may be fatal. It's all very watchable with social concerns leavened with some humour, but in the end I found it rather indulgent and too loosely worked. Some more narrative structure and drive would have lifted the film from a curiosity to a cur
I love French cinema and Paris - but did not have high hopes for this film. I rented it because I was missing Paris and could tell that the film would have great shots of Paris- and it did. I have never cared for Binoche. I found the beginning of the film to be hackneyed and trite. The character of the professor was off-putting and a bit creepy. Nevertheless- by the end of the film, I was won over and I think the film is good but not great. One of my favorite activities (shared by many visitors to Paris) in Paris is watching the life swirl around me on the streets and in the surrounding houses. This film captures this experience. We are brought into the interlocking worlds of a number of characters whose lives intersect in ways they do and do not perceive. Although there are some truly clunky aspects (the affair between student and prof was not credible, the young man's illness seemed to be conveyed in an unconvincing manner, the last-minute intersection of the professor and the dying man, the motorcycle accident, the fashionistas in the warehouse) of this conceit in the film, the melange is ultimately messy, unresolved, and poignant. One is left with a true appreciation for the people whose lives touch our own.Some of the best scenes: the small-minded owner of a boulangerie the party scene (what great dancing) the father-to-be the cruelty of the young student the tenderness between the fruit seller and Elise Elise and her childrenThe last scene- where the (possibly) dying man looks upon his nieces and nephew, says good bye to this sister, and takes a cab to the hospital- was just like the film itself- hackneyed, trite,and clunky in places ---but ultimately true-to-life, messy, unresolved, poignant and somewhat magical.
This Gallic, Altman-lite, picture-postcard film might as well have been produced by the Paris Tourist Office. What we get is too many stories about the multiplicity of life in Paris. The film could easily have lasted another 30 minutes to sustain the stories it created and discarded, but after all, this is 'tranche de vie".All the clichés are here - the ugly professor who falls for the beautiful girl, whose beauty is only skin deep. Yawn. How many French films have dealt with this cliché? Romain Duris' tragic story seems to be a direct lift from Francois Ozon's superior 'Les Temps Qui Reste'but lacks that film's depth of character. Duris, ultimately, is a poorly conceived protagonist, who, ludicrously seems to be straight, even though all the signs suggest otherwise. Yet again, a mainstream French film has shied away from portraying gay characters.The other inter weaved stories are varied but dull, most concentrating on the disaffected bonhomie of the French bourgeoisie. The stories about the market traders seem inconsequential and piddling almost as if the director bowed to tokenism.All in all, major disappointment and a further concession to Hollywood values.
For anybody who has been following the career of French film maker, Cedric Klapisch (When The Cat's Away,The Spanish Apartment,etc.),this film is a "must see". 'Paris' is Klapisch's love letter to his beloved Paris. Like one of his American influences,Robert Altman,Klapisch's films are ensemble pieces,with overlapping story lines. In this one, we see several Parisian characters who we can easily identify with. There is Pierre,a former dancer,who has learned that he may not have much time left,due to a heart condition. He spends most of his time staring out the window of his apartment,watching life pass by. There is his sister,Elise,who has escaped from a bad marriage,who takes her three children & moves in with Pierre,hoping to somehow cheer him up & try & live with his malady. Other elements include a fifty something historian & professor at the local university (Roland) who has an eye for an attractive student in his class,but is too shy to talk to her up front, so he sends her mushy love letters via text message. Roland's younger brother,Philippe,a well respected architect,who is about to become a father for the first time. Other characters drop in & out of this nicely balanced overview of Parisian life. Klapisch casts his film with the best in French talent that one can conjure up (Juliette Binoche,Roman Dupris,Fabrice Luchini,and the always welcome on screen,Franscois Cluzet). The film's impressive cinematography (with lots of sweeping over head air shots of Paris)is by Christophe Beaucarne. If you got your proverbial groove on with 'Paris,J'taime',check this one out. Spoken in French with English subtitles. Not rated by the MPAA, this film contains pervasive strong language,brief nudity,some sexual content & the aftermath of a horrible automobile accident. Not such a good choice for the little ones (who would probably be bored reading subtitles,anyway)