Opening 17 May 2007
Films about international couples tend to be screwball comedies or tales of alienation. Julie Delpy’s directorial debut deserves a big round of applause for being a comedy about coming to terms with your own background before commiting to someone whose background is completely different. The film has two major strengths: first, it is a charming look at acknowledging one is in love while visiting one’s parents and meeting our loved ones ex-lovers in the “city of love”, and second, it highlights Americans' fear of germs, addiction to hot showers and fear of acknowledging any relationship between Coq au Vin and Harry the rooster.
In terms of structure, Ms. Delpy kept the screenplay simple and full of satire. Marion (Julie Delpy) and Jack (Adam Goldberg) are flying back to NY via Paris. They decide to spend two days in Marion’s Paris apartment, which incidentally is upstairs from her parents flat in the usual Paris apartment building. While in Paris Jack must reckon with Marion’s liberated and liberal parents and with what seems a never ending stream of Marion’s arty ex-lovers. Most of the film is about how Jack copes with all of this, being that his command of the French language is non-existent. Furthermore, while Jack is covered with enough tattoos to rival those of Anthony Kiedis (lead singer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers), he certainly doesn’t have the requisitie mojo to face Marion’s sexual past.
For Marion’s part, we meet a peculiar child who’s morphed into a partially blind photographer. Of course, the film’s central truth lies in how she learns to distinguish images from the reality of love and how painful that can be.
This is a wonderful film for everyone that has ever been in love and stuck around long enough to love. Those of you whose grand amour has a background and nationality different than your own will find the film strikingly familiar. Ms. Delpy is not only director, writer, editor and casting agent in addition to lead protagonist, but she also chose the music. The soundtrack just rocks. Vive la femme. (Rita Pearson Schwandt)