Paris, written and directed by Cédric Klapisch
9 out of 10
Notes and thoughts on other books are available at:
- https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEVa4_CsRStSBBDo4uJWT8BSWtTTn0N1E and http://realini.blogspot.ro/
Paris is one of my favorite films.
If not in the top 100, in the best 1,000 anyway.
The cast includes two of the best actors- Fabrice Luchini and Romain Duris- and a discovery, a young brilliant actress:
- Mélanie Laurent in the role of Laetitia
The narrative is actually a fresco with a few stories that intertwine, involving various professions and personalities.
Pierre – played by the mesmerizing Romain Duris- is a professional dancer that learns early on about his heart condition.
Juliette Binoche- yet another outstanding artist- is Elise, the sister that is concerned by the rate of success- only 40%.
Even if attractive and noticed by strangers on the street, Elise has no husband and she raises alone her three children.
She moves in with her brother to take care of him, even if he says to a nephew that he has few chances:
- Pierre: [discussing his nieces and nephew] We've gotta be honest and say I'm gonna croak.
- Élise: That's not certain.
- Pierre: Then it'll be a nice surprise, if it's not true.
The other character that interested me a lot is Roland Verneuil, portrayed by the majestic Fabrice Luchini.
He is an expert historian, professor at the university and invited to appear on a show on television, offer that he rejects.
At least initially, he says that this is “vulgarization” and the young man who is making the proposal understands him.
The funny moment comes when “just for curiosity” the professor wants to know how much money would be involved.
The sum is north of five thousand euros plus percentages and it appears this is determining the historian to say yes.
He falls in love with a young student- Laetitia, superbly created by Mélanie Laurent- and starts texting her.
Trying to avoid ridicule and disclosing his identity, the messages are modern and written with the now common abbreviations.
- “suis a la fac avec toi t es bel j te kif tro grav”
If not hilarious for all viewers, this is really funny and fresh…try to imagine a conservative, pillar of establishment coming up with that.
A professor of history, valuing tradition, classic values is brought to use the most modern communication by…love.
There is a confrontation, for he keeps sending these “textos” – trying to figure out, I found on the net a site…
Presumably, one can enter the text and find out in “normal language” what the sender means with letters and strange “mots”.
Laetitia feels harassed for a while and on other longitudes she would have probably called the authorities.
But she finds out who the secret admirer is, with the simple method of sending back a message and hearing the phone ring.
She is somewhat angry and accuses the teacher of playing with a student in a perverted manner, but the older man has explanations.
- Why do you smile?
- You say I am smiling, but it is not a game
- What is it then
- You can see it is “gêne”
It was more than surprising to see the two of them in the next scene which is taking place after they have had sex.
Maybe this is a French, more liberal view on such aspects of life, but it anyway transforms the professor in a positive way.
After all, the ultimate expert on Positivity, author of the classic with that name, Barbara Fredrickson has identified 10 elements of positivity:
- Gratitude, amusement, interest, awe, hope, pride, inspiration, serenity, joy and towering over all: Love
The loving Roland Verneuil is evidently experiencing FLOW- yet another classic of Positive Psychology, written by the outstanding Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.
The peak experience, phenomenon also called “being in the zone” is evident when the professor is…dancing with energy and zest.
To continue in the same line of psychology research and studies on these states of mind that seem to be experienced by Roland Verneuil, I would refer to another professor, Ellen Langer from Harvard, who proved that we can become younger.
And the historian proves she is right, at least for as long as his strong feelings seem to be encouraged by his loved one.
The Charles Baudelaire poem that he texts her is sublime and is somehow in sync with this great, beautiful film:
- “Ces robes folles sont l'emblème
- De ton esprit bariolé ;
- Folle dont je suis affolé,
- Je te hais autant que je t’aime!
- Quelquefois dans un beau jardin
- Où je traînais mon atonie,
- J'ai senti, comme une ironie,
- Le soleil déchirer mon sein ;
- Et le printemps et la verdure
- Ont tant humilié mon coeur,
- Que j'ai puni sur une fleur
- L'insolence de la Nature.
- Ainsi je voudrais, une nuit,
- Quand l'heure des voluptés sonne,
- Vers les trésors de ta personne,
- Comme un lâche, ramper sans bruit,
- Pour châtier ta chair joyeuse,
- Pour meurtrir ton sein pardonné,
- Et faire à ton flanc étonné
- Une blessure large et creuse,
- Et, vertigineuse douceur !
- A travers ces lèvres nouvelles,
- Plus éclatantes et plus belles,
- T'infuser mon venin, ma soeur !”