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Paris
UKScreen Rating:

Paris – Review

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

Parisian dancer Pierre (Duris) gives up work when he’s diagnosed with a terminal heart condition, curable only by a transplant, which itself would have only a 60 chance of success.
His sister Élise (Binoche) moves into his apartment to look after him.
While pursuing a relationship of her own, she tries to help Pierre find love, when he develops a crush on the beautiful young university student Laetitia (Laurent) he spots through his window, living in the block of flats across the street. But she is already having a fling with her much older professor Roland (Luchini).
He, in turn, is busy taking his lecturing out of the classroom and onto the TV.
As the film’s title suggests, it presents us with a slice of Parisian life, as seen through the eyes of a disparate, but loosely linked, set of characters.

WHAT’S IT LIKE?

This is trying to be the film Robert Altman would’ve made if he’d ever have taken a camera over to Paris.
Sadly, it fails on a number of counts.
The characters are generally not interesting enough – and there are too many of them for us to get to know and care for them.
The links between the story strands are often weak enough as to seem almost contrived – at times it feels more like a string of unrelated short films stitched climsily together by unlikely coincidence.
Apart from Luchini’s masterful depiction of the emotionally naive professor, the film doesn’t have Altman’s light and whimsical touch.
A few too many of the scenes seem too unlikely – such as a dying man dancing the night away and a whole succession of old, ugly men hitting it off with gorgeous young women in various corners of the local market.
And if a film is tantilisingly titled Paris, you might expect the much-loved French capital to feature almost as a character in its own right, but apart from a couple of fleeting glimpses of the Eiffel Tower, it’s mostly a series of interiors and bland exteriors which could’ve been shot pretty much anywhere.
The film would’ve been considerably more successful if it had picked two or three of the more interesting storylines, blending the respective plots more smoothly and showed us more of the beautiful, eponymous city where the characters were interacting.
Reducing the number of storylines and characters would’ve had the added benefit of cutting the two hour and ten minute running time, which is far too long for a film in which very little of consequence actually happens.

opens nationwide 25th July 2008

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