Élise (to her brother): You’re all alone here? What do you do all day?
Pierre: Watch other people live. Wonder who they are, where they go? They become heroes in my little stories.
As we were desultorily flipping through the drama section on Amazon Prime Video streaming a few hours back, the 2008 French movie Paris caught our attention.
If you ask us why, we wouldn’t know.
Perhaps because Amazon’s streaming collection is so pathetically anemic that Paris stood out.
Oh, and what a wise decision it turned out to be.
Paris Oozes Class
Directed by the respected filmmaker Cédric Klapisch, Paris is an adorable movie, oozing class in every scene.
French filmmakers have a certain class that American directors have difficulty matching.
Good French movies are like panoramic paintings that hold our steadfast gaze or, better still, they’re like a sumptuous Indian feast on which one can gorge endlessly without fear of indigestion.
Paris is an ensemble film that has seven or eight plots.
No, the different stories are not treated with equal importance.
Some like the story of the sick man with a failing heart Pierre (Romain Duris) and his sister Élise (Juliette Binoche) take up a lot of screen time while others like the journey of the Cameroon immigrant are touched upon only fleetingly.
Some are humorous like that of Professor Roland Verneuil while some others end up in tragedy.
And the different stories are not even connected in any big way.
Instead, look at the various stories in the movie as vignettes of different lives in the extraordinary city that Paris is said to be.
What makes the film alluring is that each of the stories is so well captured, even those take up little screen time we found endearing.
Besides directing this fine movie, Cédric Klapisch also wrote the film. You can be sure that it won’t be long before we see Klapisch’s older movies like L’Auberge Espagnole and Russian Dolls.
Some of the actors in Paris were familiar to us. We had seen Juliette Binoche briefly in Paris, je t’aime, Mélanie Laurent in Inglourious Basterds, François Cluzet in Tell No One and Romain Duris in Heartbreaker.
Others like the amazing Fabrice Luchini, who plays an elderly history professor Roland Verneuil besotted with a young student, and Karin Viard, who plays the bakery owner, were new to us. And we were much delighted to have made their acquaintance.
For some of the most humorous moments in the film, we owe a big thanks to Fabrice Luchini. His dance scene had us rolling with laughter. The other classy dance, of a different kind, was the one by Juliette Binoche.
Juliette Binoche (an Oscar winner for her performance in The English Patient) and Romain Durris hog the screen time and they’re an absolute joy to watch. Masters of their craft, both.
All these years, we were captive to Julia Roberts smile. Not anymore.
Going forward, the benchmark of a beatific smile for us will always be Juliette Binoche.
Oh, what a woman!
Music & Photography
The soundtrack of Paris comprising of familiar famous numbers is simply awesome.
Seize the day (Performed by Wax Tailor), Douala Paris, Daniela, Lands of 1000 Dances, Sway or the hauntingly beautiful Gnossienne No.1 are a feast for the ears.
Despite their origins elsewhere, the songs are well in tune with the movie and elevate Paris into an exhilarating trip.
Of course, we’re gonna buy the soundtrack. Listen to the snippets of the CD on Amazon.
Christophe Beaucarne’s pleasing cinematography is the icing on the cake of this must-watch film.
In a million years, our Bollywood and Kollywood canines won’t make a similar movie because the classless people inhabiting that cursed land and reading this fine blog would never appreciate or watch such a classy movie.