Friday, August 17, 2007


Julie Delpy, Adam Goldberg

Cinema 6, Gateway Cineplex

"He knew that Paris was for lovers.
He just didn't think they were all hers"

It is truly rare that everything I've obsessed about endlessly all blend together in just one movie. Let me elaborate. Paris is my favorite city in the whole world. I love the French language. Julie Delpy in my book can do no wrong after I saw her in Richard Linklater's "Before Sunrise", "Before Sunset" and even in her brief role in Jim Jarmusch's "Broken Flowers". This film which she wrote, starred in and directed deals with relationships which is among my favorite topics to discuss into bits and pieces. Even now that I am in a serious and healthy relationship, I still analyze every aspect to the point of obsession. So it isn't a surprise that I saw this film, twice with two of my favorite people. First with my beau, then a few days later with my sister.

Alright, enough with the long winding intro, let’s move on to the film. Marion (Julie Delpy) and Jack (Adam Goldberg) are a couple who have been together for 2 years. Theirs is a cross cultural relationship. She is French and a photographer, he is an American interior designer and they live together in New York. After their vacation in Venice, Italy they spend 2 days in Paris at her place before they head back to the US. It just so happens that her goofy parents live below them.

It is in Paris, the city of love where their relationship is put to the test. It slowly begins to unravel and frays at the seams. Despite being a couple for 2 years, it seems Jack and Marion don’t really know each other all that well. Both of them are equally neurotic and eccentric in their own ways. Marion has an eye defect which affects her vision yet she takes pictures for a living. Jack is a hypochondriac yet he is covered with tattoos. Yet their romantic chemistry is clearly evident, never mind if they bicker all the time. For 2 days, as Marion reacquaints herself with her city, her friends and her family, she drags Jack along for the ride. Jack, a paranoid Jewish American in Paris is overwhelmed with culture shock. But it is his view of Marion who is in her elements in her familiar surroundings which suddenly changes in each frame as the film progresses. He turns into this jealously insecure in his own skin boyfriend who suspects everything bad about Marion. These instances are manifested in funny situational scenarios which elicit chuckles and even loud laughter. Yet if we analyze it down to the core, it is a seriously rude awakening for Jack. It is painful to watch a relationship which seemed solid in the beginning of the film suddenly begin to fall apart. The ironic part is that it happens in Paris of all places. So while it is Marion who guides the audience through an on and off again narration, it is clearly Jack’s point of view about the relationship that sustains the entire film.

Except for a few psychedelic shots of blurry images, the insertion of catchy French tunes to liven some scenes, the plot is pretty concise and coherently executed. Typical Parisian scenes like going to the market on weekends, attending art shows, even the different encounters with all sort of taxi drivers are authentically depicted. Rapid witty dialogue reigns as the two main characters have very good repartee. Julie Delpy and Adam Goldberg act effortlessly and convincingly that you forget they are actors. Most of the amusing part of the film occurs when Marion’s parents are in the scenes. They are portrayed by Julie Delpy’s real parents (Albert Delpy and Marie Pillet) who happen to be good French actors in their own right. The best part for me though is in the last few minutes of the film. The conflict is at its peak, an emotional confrontation ensues. Jack and Marion’s faces are expressively fraught with emotions as they desperately try to resolve the different issues - it all unfolds as Marion’s voice over narrates the muted yet poignant scene. Brilliantly executed and well acted scene, I’d say!

Yes obviously, I loved this directorial debut film of Julie Delpy. It was realistically honest, very straightforward, a refreshing departure from the usual ‘love story’ angle and downright hilarious too!

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