November 27, 2009 in Features

Review: ‘Paris’

Ann Hornaday Washington Post
 

Were you forced to cancel your trip to Paris this year? Then hurry, please, to “Paris,” Cedric Klapisch’s intoxicating portrait of a city that, despite (or, more likely, because of) being in a state of constant flux, retains timeless energy and allure.

Klapisch somehow provides the audience with both the picture-postcard ideal of the city and the candid truth behind it, managing to enhance both images.

We follow the stories of several Parisians: A dancer named Pierre (Romain Duris), who has just received a troubling diagnosis, and his sister Elise (Juliette Binoche), a single mother who moves in with him; a history professor named Roland (Fabrice Luchini) and his architect brother, Philippe (Francois Cluzet), who have just lost their father; a market vendor named Jean (Albert Dupontel), who works with his flirty ex-wife, Caroline (Julie Ferrier); and swimming instructor Benoit (Kingsley Kum Abang), who wants to immigrate to pursue one of his clients, Marjolaine (Audrey Marnay).

Klapisch manages to choreograph the most contrived encounters of “Paris” with only a few hiccups along the way. Mostly, he succeeds masterfully at proving his thesis: that people live in Paris, die in Paris, fall in and out of love in Paris, and the city accepts it all, ultimately with a singular kind of grace.

“Paris” is a funny, sad, romantic and deeply felt love letter to a great city. If you can’t book a trip now, it’s the next-best thing.

“Paris” (in French with English subtitles) is playing at the Magic Lantern Theatre.


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