Lost in Paris – movie reviewby Peter Calder
In Lost in Paris, a comedy couple create colourful ode to the City of Lights.
They deploy a winning physical comedy to delightful effect as the perfectly mismatched protagonists of a film set and shot on and near the banks of the Seine. It derives from the clown tradition – both are circus veterans – and owes much to Jacques Tati as well, particularly in the pace, the bright lighting and their fondness for bold primary colours. But its cartoon style – it’s like Kaurismäki on happy pills – has a zest all its own and it never feels derivative.
Fiona (Gordon), living in a snowbound village in Canada, has never forgotten her aunt Martha, who left long ago for the French capital. So when Martha, now 88, writes pleading to be saved from consignment to a retirement village, her niece flies to her rescue. After a series of mishaps, she arrives to find that Martha is not chez Martha. And the film runs three stories in parallel to explain what happened (in the third story, Dom [Abel], a lanky and angular dumpster-diving tramp, happens on Fiona’s lost pack, and then on Fiona).
You need to leave your scepticism at the door: in this Paris, full champagne bottles float and a tent erected on the edge of the Seine doesn’t attract the attention of the gendarmerie. And, naturellement, the denouement takes place on top of the Eiffel Tower.
Abel and Gordon may carry the story, but they don’t steal the show. Martha is played by the legendary Emmanuelle Riva, most recently seen as the stricken wife in Michael Haneke’s 2012 masterpiece Amour. She is astonishing here, too, notably in a footsie dance with another legend, Pierre Richard, which is alone worth the price of admission.
It stretches a couple of ideas out too long, but it’s as irresistible as the city it’s named for, and it will put a goofy grin on your face for the rest of the day.
IN CINEMAS NOW
This article was first published in the April 14, 2018 issue of the New Zealand Listener.
Anika Moa says she only ever shares “about 5% of what and who I am”. Her new album says otherwise.Read more
After she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, Shona Daubé learned how to live with chronic illness with a smile.Read more
Here are 50 Auckland restaurants to try that won't break the bank – and tips on what you should order.Read more
James Borrowdale looks beneath the shiny surface of modern capitalism in Cambodia.Read more
First it was: follow the money. Now it’s cherchez la femme. Wherever the Jami-Lee Ross conflagration takes us next, Ross will go down in history.Read more
Founders of popular food truck Pūhā & Pākehā have opened up an eatery in Surrey Crescent offering new interpretations of traditional Māori cuisine.Read more