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April 6, 2009

4

Dans Paris

by Franz Patrick


Dans Paris (2006)
★★ / ★★★★

There’s a lot of complex dynamics between the characters in this film but most of them were not explored enough. The best scenes were when the two brothers, Romain Duris and Louis Garrel, would talk to each other about women, the value of life and their childhood. I also found the father (Guy Marchand) interesting but he wasn’t given much to do except hover in the background like some sort of annoyance for the two leads. Duris returns home after a bad break-up and stays in bed all day. Garrel tries to find ways to alleviate his brother’s depression by–strangely enough–sleeping with other women. That statement doesn’t make sense but after seeing the entire picture, in a strange way, it does have some hidden meaning. I wouldn’t have gotten it either if Garrel’s character didn’t literally voice it out to his brother in the final scene. Still, this film is very uneven. In the beginning, Garrel talks to the camera and he claims that he’s going to be the narrator. As the film went on, that narration was completely thrown out the window. It would’ve been wiser if Christophe Honoré, the director, was more consistent about the narration because the film got a little confusing at times. One minute we’re looking at something that happened a week ago and the next we’re looking at something that happened a few months ago. The fact that this film is in French (I have no problem with that; I love foreign films) is another issue because there were some dialogues that do not directly correlate with the subtitles. (I know a little bit of French.) Given that handicap, jumping from one moment in time to another makes it that much less accessible. I liked that this film referenced other great filmmakers from the likes Jean-Luc Godard (scenes outside the home) and Bernardo Bertolucci (scenes in the home). Plus, that one scene when Garrel was looking at movie posters of “Last Days” and “A History of Violence” made me laugh due to the fact that Garrel looked at Michael Pitt’s picture with a certain recognition. (They worked together in one of my favorite films “The Dreamers.”) Little tidbits like that made me enjoy this movie despite my frustrations with its techniques. This is definitely not for everyone but if you’re the kind of person that likes to see movies which honor certain signatures of other great filmmakers, check this one out. (I still say it should have been more character-driven…)

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4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Apr 6 2009

    I basically agree with everything you said. I find French directors’ obsessions with the techniques of the New Wave almost as interesting as the New Wave era films themselves, but here, that hommage felt a little forced. Still, I really wanted to like this film, because Garrel seems like a guy who’s not afraid to take on characters that demand something of him.

    Reply
  2. Apr 13 2009

    To be honest, I need to watch movie New Wave movies. There’s only one I can name off the top of my head: “A bout de souffle.” After watching that, I felt like it was the best movie of my life. (Granted, I saw it when I was 15.) Any New Wave cinema recommendations?

    Garrel = hella sexy.

    Reply
  3. Apr 14 2009

    I haven’t seen that many FWC films myself, but both ‘A bout de souffle’, ‘Band of Outsiders’ (Godard) and ‘The 400 Blows’ (Truffaut)are highly recommendable. ‘Vivre sa vie’ (Godard) and ‘Jules and Jim’ (Truffaut) were interesting as well.

    Reply
  4. Apr 15 2009

    The first two I’ve seen and are amazing.

    “The 400 Blows” is currently #5 on my Netflix queue.

    I’m going to add the last two on my line-up. I might as well add all of Godard’s films on my queue. I’m very curious to know how he evolved as a director…

    Reply

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