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YSNM:Mrs Harris Goes to Paris


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« April Foolish Pt 5: Best Supporting Actress Possibilities|Main|Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954) »
Friday
Apr 15 2022

Review: Paris 13th District

by Matt St Clair

Ten years afterRust and Bonecomes another rumination on love and sex from director Jacques Audiard. His new black-and-white romanceParis, 13th Districthas a more unfastened narrative structure as it follows a small quartet of twenty and thirty-somethings finding romance in the city of love and figuring out their overall place in the world...

The first character in the main quartet we follow is Emelie (Lucie Zhang), a college graduate working a mundane call center job who’s at slight odds with her distant family. Things get complicated with her roommates Camille (Makita Simbo), a school teacher dealing with his own delicate familial tensions, once they begin having recreational sex.Meanwhile, real estate agent Nora (Noemie Merlant) matriculates back into college only to be rattled by a case of mistaken identity. She's mistake for cam girl Amber Sweet (Jehnny Beth). The two form an intimate online bond but do virtual bonds rival physical intimacy?

The character of Nora best encapsulates the movie’s theme of dissecting the difference between sex and love. Actress Noemie Merlant, who previously wowed viewers inPortrait of a Lady on Fire,seamlessly conveys the fanciful tightrope between lovestruck feelings and carnal desire that Nora finds herself walking on.

In her feature film debut, Lucie Zhang emerges as the acting co-MVP as Emilie. As Zhang presents Emilie’s blissful yearning for companionship, she simultaneously taps into her disarmingly frank discontent with her life as it is. Her fickle nature helps you understand why Camille is skeptical of taking their bond further. While his role’s not particularly showy, Makita Simbo gives a fine, receptive performance as the man caught in the middle of this quadrangle.

All four actors expertly demonstrate the constant push-and-pull their characters show, bringing to life the loose and simple yet compelling story co-written by Audiard, Céline Sciamma, and Léa Mysius. In addition, the serene score composed by electronic music artist Rone helps giveParis, 13th Districtits almost mellow quality even if the music is dispersed in random sequences.

Minus the heartbreaking scene of Nora being subjected to online ridicule over the case of mistaken identity,Paris, 13th Districtis mostly a calm unostentatious meditation on romance and finding yourself at a time in your life when you’re expected to have everything figured out.Paris 13th Districtdoesn’t reinvent the wheel for the romance genre, or even the “coming of age in your late 20’s/early 30’s” film pantheon, but still thrives on its performances and its profundity.B

Paris 13th Districtopens today in movie theaters in select cities.

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Reader Comments (3)

Absolutelty agree here (except that I woudl rate it a little higher - at least an A-).There are too many movies that ignore the intersection and complements of the Love-Sex Venn diagram, and too few movies that investigate it as deeply and entertainly as this one. The writing dream team of Audiard and Sciamma seems to have produced magic. In a 2022 French Film Festival with many great films (FIRE/BOTH SIDES OF THE BLADE, FULL TIME, A TALE OF LOVE AND DESIRE, THE VELVET QUEEN, THE YOUNG LOVERS, PETITE MAMAN), this is up there competing for the title of Best of the Best.

April 15, 2022 |Registered CommenterTravis C

Absolutelty agree here (except that I woudl rate it a little higher - at least an A-).There are too many movies that ignore the intersection and complements of the Love-Sex Venn diagram, and too few movies that investigate it as deeply and entertainly as this one. The writing dream team of Audiard and Sciamma seems to have produced magic. In a 2022 French Film Festival with many great films (FIRE/BOTH SIDES OF THE BLADE, FULL TIME, A TALE OF LOVE AND DESIRE, THE VELVET QUEEN, THE YOUNG LOVERS, PETITE MAMAN), this is up there competing for the title of Best of the Best.

April 15, 2022 |Registered CommenterTravis C

I do want to see this as I've seen a couple of films by Jacques Audiard so far but I like what I saw. Plus, Celine Sciamma providing some contributions has me excited.

April 16, 2022 |Registered Commenterthevoid99
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