Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 39
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
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For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

ONE — SINGULAR SENSATION: Pierre (Romain Durin) is a successful chorus line dancer who seemingly has a promising career ahead of him. Unfortunately, he is stricken by a serious heart ailment and is put on the waiting list to receive a heart transplant. As he is waiting, he adopts a new outlook on life as he observes the lives of people around him and realizes that we should live life to its fullest everyday and not take our health for granted.

Paris: Poignant Drama Revolves Around Melancholy Heart Patient

Kam Williams

Pierre (Romain Duris) is in the midst of a flourishing career as a chorus line dancer until he is diagnosed with an advanced case of heart disease. He turns to his sister Elise (Juliette Binoche) for support, and she, a social worker, rushes to his side to assist in any way she can. The divorced 40-year-old decides to move in with her brother together with her three children; energetic youngsters who inject a joie de vivre into their ailing uncle’s life.

With the diagnosis, Pierre’s world has become restricted to the confines of his Paris apartment as he waits for word of a transplant donor. And although he is understandably dejected about his doctor’s dire prognosis, at least Pierre has his family and is living in a spacious flat with a balcony that has breathtaking bird’s eye views of the city.

His plight makes him more appreciative of the little things in life, and he starts observing both neighbors and strangers from a fresh perspective. So unfolds Paris, an ensemble drama directed by Cedric Klapisch, that is reminiscent of Oscar nominated Amelie (2001).

However, instead of a naïve waif, melancholy Pierre serves as the link to a group of colorful characters. For instance, Elise flirts with a macho fishmonger (Albert Dupontel) whom she meets in the market. He also sees how his pretty neighbor (Melanie Laurent) becomes the object of her college professor’s (Fabrice Luchini) obsessive attention. Elsewhere, a racist snob (Karin Viard) reluctantly hires an African immigrant (Kingsley Kum Abang) to work in her shop.

These loosely interlocking tales ultimately lead an envious Pierre to the conclusion that none of the above “know how lucky they are to be walking … breathing … running … arguing … to be just like that, carefree in Paris!” The housebound invalid makes the point that we all have a lot to be thankful for and that we should never take our health for granted.

Excellent (3½ stars). Rated R for profanity and sexual references. In French with subtitles. Running time: 124 minutes. Studio: IFC Films.

For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

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