Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Two days in Paris

Truth be told, I did not have great hopes for Julie Delpy’s directorial debut. The plot and setting seemed to be a lot like the superlative Sunrise/ Sunset films and I felt Delpy was just cruising along on the success of a tried and tested formula. However, when five minutes into the movie,Adam Goldberg convinces a group of American tourists that the Louvre is just around the corner, in order to cut a taxi queue, my reservations about this movie being run-of-the-mill vanished. The film does feel a lot like the Sunrise/ Sunset movies in that they both explore romantic relationships and the milieu is similar. But this offbeat little film will be best remembered for its irreverence and its all too realistic depictions of the pains and tribulations of relationships.

The film follows the Parisienne Marion( Delpy ) and Jack( Adam Goldberg ), her American boyfriend who are visiting Paris for a couple of days. The couple are put up at Marion’s parent’s house. Marion’s family is quite dysfunctional, with Marion herself being quite a neurotic character. Jack’s growing impatience with Marion’s eccentric quirks and short fuse have put their relationship on the rocks . It does not help that Paris seems to be chock-full of Marion’s ex-boyfriends and there’s one lurking around every corner.

The direction and acting are top-notch. Adam Goldberg really proves his acting chops in this film and Delpy’s portrayal of a quirky, red-blooded, lovable Parisienne is spot-on, but the scripting really is the best part of the film. The dialogue is witty and dead on, the characters well-fleshed out and real. From Marion’s dad, a semi-Luddite who can’t understand computers and has a thing for key- scratching cars to the French artist who thinks pubic landing strips on women are reprehensible, Delpy has created some very interesting characters. The French are portrayed with the usual stereotypes; their extravagated jingoism, their casual and open-minded attitude to sex all feature heavily. Delpy’s essentially Parisian approach to ex-lovers,her white lies and her neurotic attitude distance her from the more staid, straightforward Jack and wrecks the affair. In many ways, the film has the feel of a Woody Allen oeuvre. And while it is not exactly ground-breaking, it is a far cry from the dull, repetitive fare that passes for romantic film these days. Certainly worth the price of a ticket, and if you’re a fan of Delpy, pop-corn and drinks too.

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