Friday, February 19, 2010

Life From the Outside

I watched 2 Days in Paris with very little idea of what I was getting myself into. I had run into the trailer from another dvd. But the main reason I was able to catch this movie was because Netflix had it on instant play. So I clicked it.

The scenes that stand out for me in the movie are the scenes in which Marion (Julie Deply) and Jack (Adam Goldberg) are riding in a taxi. Every taxi driver enjoys carrying on conversations with Marion in French and Jack sits slumped in the corner confused and frustrated because he doesn't know what is being said. Usually, what is being said is racist, misogynist, unflattering, or mean. And Jack is left to listen to a language he doesn't understand, and watch a girlfriend drift further and further away.

This movie has a lot of similarities to Lost in Translation, except instead of two outsiders we see just one outsider struggling to adjust. This is also a film that didn't make Paris look glamorous, friendly, inviting, new, shiny, and morally or politically superior. This made Paris look as deeply troubled, exciting, dangerous, uninviting, and pock marked as the US. I must say I appreciated that greatly.

That is where the boldness of the film comes from. It's willingness to showcase the unflattering parts of the city (and country) it is documenting. The streets weren't altogether sparkling clean, there were bad parts of the city, ignorant, raving people, riots and protests, and loving couples. This made Paris more than just a tourist destination. More than a simple city of love and promise. This film did what New York, I Love You didn't do. It show cased a city in a way that made it feel like another character. A real, flawed character. A character I actually believed existed and wanted to know more about.

I'd give this film 3 outta 4.

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