Paris

Posted: October 02, 2009

Perhaps it's time for a moratorium on movies where the trajectories of various people intersect, often portentously, across the tableau of a big city. Michael Winterbottom did it with wrenching effectiveness 10 years ago in Wonderland (the city: London). Paul Haggis' Crash connected the dots, and the racism, of Los Angeles. There have been many others, with the lives of strangers and friends, rich and poor, happy and sad, colliding on the streets. And now there is Paris.

Directed by Cédric Klapisch with a roving camera and an obvious affection for his town, Paris isn't bad. But like the relationship that takes off between a more-than-middle-aged history professor (Fabrice Luchini) and his dreamy-eyed student (Mélanie Laurent), the enterprise feels thoroughly cliched. There is a handsome young man (Romain Duras) - he's a dancer - with a dire medical prognosis. There is his loveless social worker sister (Juliette Binoche) and her brood of kids. There's a garbage collector from Cameroon . . . it's a veritable cross-section of the populace.

Klapisch, whose When the Cat's Away and L'auberge espagnole exhibited a similar sense of how a city shapes lives and vice versa, juggles the storylines well enough, although he gives more play to the dancer with the bum ticker and the history professor with the crush. So much so that the inclusion of the other characters sometimes seems gratuitous, incidental.

- Steven Rea

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|