Dans Paris AKA Inside Paris
R1 - America - Genius Products
Review written by and copyright: James Teitelbaum (18th April 2008).
The Film

Jonathan (Louis Garrel) is college student who lives with his divorced father in an apartment near Paris (looks like it is La Defense, or thereabouts). Just before Christmas, Jonathan's older brother Paul (Romain Duris) breaks up with his girlfriend, and comes home to dad's place to sulk. The three men spend the next twenty four hours together. Dad is a bit cranky and perhaps a little bit distant, but he cares about his sons, even if he has no idea how to reach out to them. He tries to cheer Paul up by making some food and by buying a Christmas tree, but these efforts are far too little. Jonathan tries his best to clown around in order to break Paul's gloom, and eventually bets Paul that the famous Paris department store Bon Marche can be reached on foot in under thirty minutes. Paul is disinterested, but Jonathan sets off, skipping class, intent on making Paul honor his promise to get out of bed if Jonathan does indeed make it to the store on time. Jonathan does not get to the store on time, and in fact spends the next seven hours sleeping with a grand total of three women, including an angry ex-girlfriend and two complete strangers whom he seduces on the street.

Louis Garrel is no stranger to showing off his willie on film, having starred opposite Eva Green in "The Dreamers" (2003), a film in which the pair were naked more than they were dressed (or so I seem to recall). It is interesting then that the multiple full-frontal scenes that Garrel punishes us with in "Dans Paris" are all completely gratuitous (i.e. him waking up in the morning and getting out of bed), and are not in the context of the multiple theoretical love scenes (I say theoretical because we only actually see the beginning of one encounter and the aftermath of another, the rest is implied).

Well, anyway, while little brother is off shagging half of Paris, Paul is laying in bed in his boxers, playing Kim Wilde records and singing along to them between lengthy bouts of melancholia. There are a few visitors to the house, most notably from the family's estranged matriarch. She is played by Marie-France Pisier, who you may remember as being the best thing about François Truffaut's 1979 film, "Love on the Run", or also from Luis Buñuel's "The Phantom of Liberty" (1974). Pisier went on to write and direct, and also did a lot of European television, but it is nice to see her still appearing in feature films. As the character known only as "la mere" (the mother), she fails to cheer her son up. Eventually, Paul calls his ex up and they sing to each other for a while. After their telephone duet, they're either back together or at least over each other; this is left ambiguous, but at least Paul stops moping, just as Jonathan gets back from his adventures. The brothers bond.

I'd like to say that this movie is about brothers bonding over a crisis, but it doesn't seem to be. So I'd like to say that it is about a father coming to understand his sons, but it doesn't seem to be about that either. It could also be about three men who are dealing with the loss of the three main women in their lives (mom left, so did Paul's girlfriend, and a sister committed suicide some years before the film takes place), but this is just trivia; it also does not seem to be the point of the movie (even if Louis does seduce - coincidentally - three women during the movie). So the point is... I am not sure what the point is. To be honest, the film didn't seem to really have one, even if it flirted around with the three options mentioned above.

Video

"Dans Paris" is 1:33:57 in length, divided into 12 chapters. It is presented in the original 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen aspect ratio. Annoyingly, the subtitles are below the picture (rather than superimposed over the action), so if you're watching it on a widescreen television, you won't be able to take advantage of it; you'll have to contend with black bars on all four sides of the picture, and a lil' image in the center of the screen if you want to read the subtitles. I hate that.

Audio

The original French Dolby Digital 5.1 is the only spoken language; English and Spanish subtitles are available. This is a dialogue-driven film (um, except for that Kim Wilde record) so the soundscape isn't particularly wide nor impressive; it doesn't need to be.

Extras

Genius Products has included a short film, a deleted scene and the film's theatrical trailer as extras on this release. Below is a closer look at these supplements.

"Rendezvous with Louis" is a short film by director Christophe Honoré and runs for 6 minutes 5 seconds and is, in spite of what the title might imply, just some behind the scenes video of Garrel in Paris talking to some embarrassingly ignorant and stereotypically dumb Floridian (American) tourists about Jean-Luc Goddard and Woody Allen (whom they have never heard of).

There is also one deleted scene that runs for 4 minutes 6 seconds, in which Jonathan takes a bath, after finally coming home at the end of his long day. Father comes in to talk to him about Paul's jumping off of a bridge, and about the death of Claire.

There's also a theatrical trailer for the film which runs 2 minutes 5 seconds. That's it for extras.

Overall

The Film: C+ Video: B- Audio: B Extras: B- Overall: B-

 


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