11 Dec

I feel like this film’s title makes it seem fraught with cliché. Paris: city of light, city of love, n’est-ce pas? It sounds cliché, yes, but, though I can’t speak from personal experience, films like this only serve to convince me that Paris truly is a beautiful and magical place. This film has a couple of different centers. Perhaps the emotional focus of the film is the relationship between Pierre (Romain Duris) and his sister Élise (Juliette Binoche). Pierre is dying from a chronic heart condition and his sister moves in with him to take care of him. As he is too sick to go out much, Pierre watches the world around him from the balcony of his Parisian apartment. The film chronicles bits and pieces of the lives of the people he watches go by. In this way, the film shoots very close and very wide, portraying both a very intimate story of life, death, and family and a very broad story of Paris and the people who live in it.

My French professor discussed this film in our class while we were studying life in Paris, saying it does a good job of capturing the “Parisian attitude” toward life, and the French attitude in general. That is, somewhat cynical, but still hopelessly romantic. It also touches on the issue of wealth disparity, social services and racism in Paris- as the city’s socioeconomic structure is quickly stratifying- leaving no room for a middle class Paris.

Definitely not a fast-paced movie, but it is both hilarious, horribly sad, very intelligent and very genuine- all qualities I like to see side by side any day.



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