Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Whimsy done deliciously in Dominique Abel & Fiona Gordon's best-film-yet, LOST IN PARIS

Whimsy's a tricky thing. It can so easily curdle into the kind of cuteness that sets your teeth on edge. But when it's done right (and usually with enough brevity so as not to outlast its delicate charms), it can be so delightful as to make you feel you're on top of the world.

Interestingly enough the film capital of whimsy would seem to be the country of Belgium, since it's major practitioners appear to live and thrive there. Those would be Jaco van Dormael (who last year gave us a wonderful example in The Brand New Testament) and Dominique Abel (above) and Fiona Gordon (below), the pair of farceurs responsible for today's delightful example, LOST IN PARIS.

Ms Gordon is actually Australian-born, but because she is married to M. Abel and, I presume, lives with him in Belgium, I am crediting her to that little country. This pair has gifted us previously with two whimsical films, The Fairy and The Iceberg, both of which were lots of fun but also somewhat up-and-down, quality-wise. TrustMovies is happy to report that this new one is their best yet: an almost constant flow of great humor, strangeness (these are two of the weirdest-looking movie stars you're likely to see, and they love to emphasize that weirdness continually and cleverly), and performances that rely as much on movement, energy and bizarre poise as you could ever imagine.

Also in the cast are two French old pros -- the late Emmanuelle Riva (above, right, whose penultimate film this is) and Pierre Richard (above, left) -- both of whom are simply wonderful. The pair (or more likely, their dancing stunt doubles) gets to do a delightful little number featuring only feet and ankles that would probably make Tommy Tune green with envy.

The story -- a bit of silly fluff manufactured to offer up the opportunity for the leading actors to strut their pretty amazing stuff -- takes our heroine from a cold, wintry Canadian mountain village (above, in the film's first flight of fanciful whimsy) to Paris to visit her aging aunt who needs some help. (Why the aunt's letter is so very late in arriving is one of the movie's more delicious jokes.)

Once in the City of Lights, Fiona encounter a bizarre clochard named Dom who falls instantly in love with our gal, pursuing her, even as she pursues her elusive Aunt Martha. There are a number of wonderful, memorable scenes here, one of which takes place on a bateau/restaurant and involves a set of speakers with very aggressive bass tones,

and another (above) that involves the coming-undone of a fragment of La Tour Eiffel. Both scenes bring out the consummate skills at movement, choreography and comedy possessed by our talented, triple-threat directors/writers/actors.

There's also a splendid funeral scene that shows the pair's proclivity for dark whimsy, some funny underwater business (above), and a simply lovely moment near the end (below) that showcases Ms Riva's abiding ability to steal a scene. The finale, in fact, could not be a more fitting memorial to this rather special actress who came to international prominence via Hiroshima Mon Amour and managed to stay there for nearly sixty years.

From Oscilloscope Films, in English and French with English subtitles, and running a just-about-perfect 83 minutes, Lost in Paris, after opening in New York, L.A. and elsewhere, hits South Florida this Friday, July 14 -- in Miami at the Miami Beach Cinematheque and the Bill Cosford Cinema; at Savor Cinema in Fort Lauderdale and Cinema Paradiso, Hollywood; at the Living Room Theater in Boca Raton, at the Lake Worth Playhouse, and Movies of Delray and Movies of Lake Worth. To see all currently schedule playdates across the country, click here and then scroll down.

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