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176 of 178 people found the following review helpful
on 6 July 2009
This delightful film explores the life of Pierre, who suddenly finds his life might soon be over as he waits for a heart donation which might not work. Meanwhile, his sister cares for him whilst wistfully searching for love, harbouring some bitterness from previous experiences. Initially, this leaves her somewhat cold, and slightly indifferent to Pierre's bad news, which adds to his sense of lonliness and helplessness.

As a downbeat Pierre views Paris from his balcony, in beautifully shot, atmoshperic scenes, he realises that people take life for granted, and feels sadness and a sense of injustice as he watches other characters "carefree" in the city.

These other characters blend in and out of love, using people, hurting each other, and generally displaying typical human behaviour. We are constantly reminded that they are lucky to be able to enjoy life, albeit with their various problems, whilst Pierre has seemingly little hope for the future.

At the same time, and with a fair degree of irony, poor immigrants from Cameroon try just to get into Paris at all.

Yes, at times the Paris-dwellers and their spontaneous love match-ups seem a little ridiculous, but this is deliberate; in satarising them, it draws our attention more strongly to the irony that we overlook the simple things available to us.

The magic of this film is that it takes well-worn, simple ideas, but presents them in a way which we can easily relate to. We empathise with characters whose problems, mainly in relationships, seem depressingly real, yet we are soon reminded to put things in perspective by the bad luck suffered by Pierre.

There is also a superb score accompanying the film, in particular the downtempo tracks which perfectly capture the mystery and bustle of the city at the same time (I enjoyed the music enough to find out who the artist is and make a purchase).

The messages are simple and deliberately presented in a refreshingly innocent, almost naive manner, creating a charming film.
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82 of 88 people found the following review helpful
on 25 July 2009
What is it about French films that makes the best of them so deeply reflective in a way that few American and British films achieve? Maybe it's that France itself is such a beautiful and evocative country, maybe it's that the French have a lifestyle that, for us non-French, appears so stylish and romantic... whatever... but when they get it right they really are in a different class, and "Paris" most definitely gets it right.

Beautifully filmed, brilliantly acted, and underpinned by a superb soundtrack, the film explores "real" peoples' lives slowly and above all subtly. Not a great deal happens, and there are no conclusions to the stories involved - a guy gets diagnosed with a life threatening heart condition, another chap falls in love with one of his students, a lonely single mother and a market stall trader are hesitantly drawn together, and an African dreams of getting to Paris to start a new life. That's about it really. But it's the way that this is all put together & explored that makes the film, and which achieves its objective of trying to capture what Paris is to people who live there or dream of living there - which of course means that its infused with their, often vague, hopes & fears and it has no clear & tidy "Hollywood style" endings... life's not like that.

At times funny, at times charming, and ultimately quite moving, Klapisch directs the film without reverting to heavy-handed sentimentality or high drama to make his points.... in fact, exactly the opposite: witness the fleeting, beautifully poignant shot at the end of the film as the African compares the view on the postcard of Paris that has driven him to make his journey there, and which underpins his hopes for the future, with the reality of it... nothing more needs to be said or filmed to capture what he must be feeling.

Perhaps the greatest credit to "Paris" is that, even though it's two hours long, subtitled (which is never the easiest way to watch a film), and devoid of any clever plot twists or unexpected surprises to hold your attention, by the end of it all... you really don't want it to end. It's that good.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 11 July 2010
A delightful but very slow paced film which I guess can only be described as an uncontroversial dilluted Parisianesque 'Crash'. It is like 'Crash' in the sense that the characters are all connected in some way. The plot centres mainly around Pierre who has a serious heart condition and his single middle aged sister, a university lecturer who is fed up with life and is enchanted with a pretty student, some market traders, a lady in a bakery and a young man from Cameroon trying to get to Paris.

I think the film would have benefited more from focused character development, pinpointing certain characters for the audience to really engage with and understand as opposed to lots of scanty stories, I feel as though I didnt really know the characters, this however does not remove from the charm of the film.

The cinematography was lovely especially the various shots of the city of Paris and the repetition of erik satie's gnossienne 1. Overall its a warming film and a good watch.
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58 of 64 people found the following review helpful
on 4 September 2010
I bought this mainly for the purpose of keeping up my French and improving my daughter's knowledge of the language. Unlike your typical box office hits, there are no sensational special effects or high drama in this film (which, incidentally, do nothing for me anyway). It is, however, essentially a film about people and feelings. In that sense, it is typically French and would not cut the mustard outside that country. The beginning can be a little puzzling, trying to work out how each character is going to fit into this jigsaw, but as the film progresses everything falls into place. Although the ultimate ending is never revealed (will the lead character's heart transplant be successful?), the film does have a relatively happy conclusion. After watching the film it's hard not to spend a moment or two looking at one's own life and imagining what would be truly important if faced with life on a transplant list - family and friends. Overall, a truly thought provoking and enjoyable film.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 6 June 2013
The movie is a true epic. I was fortunate enough to get a VHS with Engish subtitles 10 years back, in Canada.
It contain 2 parts, the first is the comming of age, of a young polish noble man, depicting the life and struggle of the polish people.
The polish nobles lived very much like their cousins in France, Germany and England, with an emphasis on culture and splendor, but little compassion for peasants.

The second is our protagonist joining the polish army, and army allied to France and fiercely loyal to Napoleon.
Who promised them an independant new Poland, with modern civil rights (Code de Civil).
First the troops are being shipped to the Caribean, where they have to put down a native rebellion. A task not much to the like of the Polish troopers, but obeyed nevertheless.
Next is Spain, where the troops commit plunder and pillaging the Spanish countryside, after having fought frustrating battles against insurgents.
Many Polish soldiers questioning themselves, about the high ideals the once wanted to uphold. Next off to Russia, very few return.
Now the battle has shifted to defend their homeland against Russian, Prussian and Austrian forces. Those battles are being fought with utter tenacity and renewed energy.
The odds are overhelmingly in their disfavor, and a heartbroken force of Survivors keeps fighting a battle of retreat way west of their homeland ....until everything has turned into ashes (Popioly). This epic was produced in Polands Communist years, so it enjoyed a practically limitless budged. The battle scenes are pretty awesome, with thousends of polish soldiers(extras)
filling the scenes. Today that is done with CGI effects. The costums are beautiful, the uniforms and weaponry as authentic as they could be. A real feast for history buffs, and a treat for the Polish soul.
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43 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on 18 March 2009
My wife and saw this film being advertised on the billboards in Paris last year but missed the it did not seem to be on general release in the UK we decided that it would bought as a dvd.
We are lovers of all things parisienne and this film captures the colours,the architecture and perhaps most of all the "quirkiness" of French filmaking...all the acting is top drawer and if you are at all a fan of Juliet Binoche add this to your collection...oh I forgot to mention the soundtrack! Stunning and mood capturing..

Ray Tough
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 27 April 2012
I love Paris, having been there many times, and I enjoy a lot of French cinema (although I still have to read the subtitles), so add in Juliette Binoche and what's not to like? Well, to its credit the film doesn't try and present a picture postcard view of Paris that you suspect a Hollywood director might, and we are treated to more of a warts and all approach to the city that encompasses market traders down at the huge wholesale markets, as well as bohemian artistic types and social workers. The director invites us to love his city for its diversity of people and not just its beautiful architecture and sophisticated entertainment.

While I admit to having a rather romantic view of France which I like films to reinforce, I have no problem with that, but the result was a little disjointed and lacked much cohesion. There are too many strands, some of which could be interesting but aren't given time to develop while others get more time despite being less interesting. I also found the story of the central character that was supposed to hold it all together to be a little unconvincing and 2 dimensional. Furthermore I realise that writing this a couple of weeks after watching it I am struggling to recall many details, suggesting it made relatively little impact on me.

So while the film had its merits, it just never really worked together as a whole for me. Enjoy it for the relationship between the market stall holder and his estranged wife and the incredible dancing by the academic in front of his young lover. Don't watch it for classic views of the Seine and Boulevard Haussman,
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29 of 34 people found the following review helpful
There's a lot that can be said about Paris, the city; it's great historical buildings, the landmarks, excellent new and exciting architecture, music, art - really I could go on. OK Paris isn't perfect, it has all the problems of the other capitals, but it's the historic architecture that really makes Paris what it is today, from what it started as, a small village, which has now sprawled into a 20 arrondissent city.

As I have said, Paris isn't perfect, and Cédric Klapisch sets out to show us why, in a very complex - multi persona movie, which can make you dizzy if you loose your place. The lead, Pierre (Romain Duris), is a young dancer who has got a serious and devastating heart condition; he's looking for a donor, but it's only got a 40% chance of working. His sister, Élise has decided to help him (played by Juliette Binoche (Les Amants Du Pont-Neuf)) and helps him with day to day things.

On the other side of Paris, we mainly see people's lives, like an architect, a young student, and a father who's dealing with a loss. But in Cameroon, we see a guy making his way to France.

This film is terribly complex, but very good. I watched it twice, once to get the gist, the second time to actually enjoy the film, so it does have a great come back to factor. Both Binoche and Duris show great potential, but sometimes Duris doesn't seem to be as occupied with the problem in hand, and it feels a bit dreamy - though sometimes people with a life-threatening disease do go into dreams, mainly due to pain or just so the mind can get away from the real issue.

The cinematography is just breath taking - this film has some of the best shots I've seen in ages of Paris, and really did take my breath away. Christophe Beaucarne should have won an award for this work. Even the duller scenes in the factory with the ugly graffiti on the van looks glorious - and I love the 3D world created during the middle of the movie.

This DVD isn't bad, I have to give credit to Optimum/Canal Studios for putting the English subtitles as separate entities - REALLY annoys me when studios think everyone in the UK cannot understand French, it's patronising, but thankfully the team have made it possible to turn them off! Well done guys, please, keep this up!

We're also treated on the audio front: 3 tracks in total, 2.0, which is pretty good, 5.1 and 5.1DTS, which is well mixed and is more expanded. Some people may argue this is gimmicky, but I like the option to watch this on 2.0 on the portable, and then 5.1 DTS on the big TV. Plus through my good speakers this is clear as a bell, I feel like I'm watching this for the first time when it was filmed on location.

Shame there are no other extras on this UK release, hopefully the French DVD has much more on it, I still have to investigate this.

I can't sing the praises high enough for this movie and the DVD, it's glorious and well presented, the dark scenes look fantastic, and the light scenes even better. Now all you need is a quiet moment where you won't be disturbed - and enjoy the marvel which is Paris.

5/5 on all fronts - except for the extras - BUY it!
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35 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on 7 August 2008
I have just watched it on the big screen at the GFT in Glasgow. Cinema at its finest. The city itself is featured spectacularly and the stories of the main characters are told with warmth and humour in a masterful screenplay. The subtitle translation for English speaking viewers captures all of the subtle pathos and comedy and the soundtrack is sublime. You wait a long time for gems like this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 5 January 2012
I am an avid watcher of French films but sadly initially turned off the film after half an hour as it was very frustrating, trying to work out the story lines when only summary subtitles were provided. However I decided to give the film another try and gradually became so engrossed that I forgot about the subtitles. I will not repeat the content as it has already been covered in other reviews. The final scene in the car was touching and reminded me of the closing scene in the English Patient (driving in the sunset) when you felt the character had accepted life. I would definitely recommend the film and it will be an asset for people learning the language.
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