Saturday, May 3, 2008

Dans Paris DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Dysfunctional Family Drama from Paris Due on DVD

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and we find Paul (Romain Duris) all depressed because he’s just been dumped by his girlfriend, Anna (Joana Preiss). So, he shows up unannounced at the home of his father, Mirko (Guy Marchand ) and younger brother, Jonathan (Louis Garrel).
Even though he’s divorced, Mirko enlists the assistance of his ex-wife (Marie-France Pisier), since they’re both still coming to grips with the suicide of their teenage daughter, Claire. But Paul’s predicament doesn’t prevent the still bickering couple from pointing out each other’s flaws, such as the fact that the “saint-whore of a mother ran off with a Canadian lumberjack.”
She also smokes like a chimney, curses like a sailor, and is generally inelegant. Unproductive papa, on the other hand, has retired prematurely and is living on a pension due to a neurological issue he’s been neglecting to own up to.
While his parents ponder putting him on tranquilizers, Paul sits there in a stupor, ostensibly considering using the balcony as a launching pad. Meanwhile, selfish womanizer Jonathan bolts from the apartment to fritter away the day ‘catting about town, and he proceeds to sleep with three different women by the time he returns in the evening.
This slice of life adventure transpires over the course of a frustrating 24 hours during which not much is resolved in terms of Paul’s mental state. Still, I sort of like the fact that writer/director Christophe Honore felt no need to end on an upbeat note, and even has the temerity to suggest that perhaps people are born with a sadness gene inside them, much the same as ones for skin, eye or hair color.
A maudlin mood piece offering an off-season opportunity to share
Christmas with the cracked.

Very good (3 stars)
In French with subtitles.
Running time: 92 minutes
Studio: Genius Products

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