The act of reading ... begins on a flat surface, counter or page, and then gets stirred and chopped and blended until what we make, in the end, is a dish, or story, all our own.
— Adam Gopnik
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July 18, 2010

Paris in July: Paris

When I found out we would be going to Paris in July, I thought I would look for a movie or two in case I didn't have a chance for much reading, and found one (a film I hadn't heard of) called Paris. {Perfect!} It's been a while since I've watched a movie in French (even with subtitles), so I put it aside for a night when I could watch it with attention, and that was worth it. 

The movie begins with a melange of characters:  a mother with three children (played by Juliette Binoche, the only actor I recognized), a television presenter making  a program about Paris, an older man who must cancel a meeting with him because his father has just died, the older man's brother, and another young man who has just been told he needs a heart transplant. There is also a group of men and a woman who sell fruit and fish in a Paris market, a bigoted woman who runs a bakery, an immigrant family from Cameroon and a beautiful model who befriends a worker at a resort.

The heart patient, Pierre, turns out to be the estranged brother of Elise (Juliette Binoche's character), a former dancer who now spends his days looking out the window of his apartment, watching (as he puts it) other people live. As he watches, the characters start to intersect.  The man whose father has died turns out to be a history professor who becomes depressed when he becomes obsessed with a beautiful student, who turns out to live across the street from Pierre;  the professor's brother, an architect who is about to become a father, wonders whether it's a good thing to be the normal one;  Elise shops at the market and gets to know the market workers;  the model and her friends make a late night visit to a meat-packing plant where the market men get their stock. There's a death, and a surprising happy ending, and  some funny scenes (I loved the scene where Elise, a social worker, conducts a survey on her brother's behalf).

Even though the characters and story lines were appealing, for me this was a movie about Paris, one that physically made me feel as though I were there. There were so many (recognizable streets and buildings and cafes and  sweeping views, and I almost think I could have watched it with the subtitles hidden and the sound off and still enjoyed it very much.


Coffee and a Book Chick said...

I also reviewed two films for Paris in July and am having a blast at this challenge, aren't you? I adore anything with Juliette Binoche in it, so I'm looking forward to putting this on my Netflix queue! The characters and story line sound really brilliant, so I can't wait -- fab post, can't wait to see this!!

Amy DeTrempe said...

I have not heard of the moving but now I need to find and see it.

Joan Hunter Dunn said...

That sounds a film to see. A little bit of everything and a large spoonful of Paris - perfect.

Tamara said...

I too, have loved this movie. It's on my shelves and I pick it out for rainy days because there's just so much hidden in the different stories. Paris in July has been just what the doctor ordered for me this July (Winter in Aus) - cos Ive been revisiting favourite DVD's and getting into new ones. Thanks for this review - I think you've done well to review this complex story briefly.

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