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April 25, 2014

Paris (2008)
Director: Cédric Klapisch
Actors: Romain Duris, Juliette Binoche, Fabrice Luchini

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Synopsis: Sickly dancer, Pierre (Romain Duris), becomes housebound, is attended to by his social worker sister, Elise (Juliette Binoche), and spends vast chunks of his day looking out at the hive of life around him from the balcony of his Montmartre apartment….

Review: Cédric Klapisch’s ambitious attempt to craft a portmanteau-style drama around the spirit of the City of Lights is partly successful, but, in the end, where it would aspire to to wind up somewhere near to the class of Woody Allen’s ode to the sights of NYC, Manhattan, it falls closer to the sickly confections of Richard Curtis’ bourgeois London pieces.

It’s gorgeously filmed by Klapisch, and, if his aim was to honour the picturesque potential of Paris, then he was spot on, as with excellent wide lens images and expert cinematography he captures perfectly all the famous sights of the city, and makes good use of its topographical potential (Fabrice Luchini’s middle-aged professor muses on his young amour as he looks over toward Montmartre from the Eiffel Tower, not knowing that she is there literally with her other boyfriend on the very steps of the Sacre Coeur that he’s peering at).

Sadly, most of the time, Klapisch’s dramaturgy cannot match the ambition of his premise, and he particularly fails in trying to push the cutesy, rom-com leanings of the scenario. The subplots involving all the market-stall owners are lame and dull, culminating in a truly bizarre sequence where they all randomly get to pull a group of chic fashionistas, and Binoche’s affair with Albert Dupontel’s noble widower is replete with all the clichéd, ‘realistic’ sexual courtship of supposedly funny stripteases etc. (April 2014)

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