Fiona (Fiona Gordon) is a lean, clumsy Canadian, a kind of “Aunt Horse”. She lives in a small snowy town in the mountains of Canada and works as a librarian. At some point, Fiona receives a letter from her aunt Martha (Emmanuelle Riva), who has been living in Paris for the past forty-eight years. A note is attached to the letter, which says that the postman found this letter in a trash can next to the mailbox and considered it necessary to send it anyway.
Martha writes that social services want to send her to a nursing home under the pretext that she cannot take care of herself. And it’s funny, says Martha, because she is only eighty-eight years old. Long story short, Martha asks Fiona to fly to her in Paris to help fend off social services.
Fiona packs her things into a hefty backpack and flies to Paris – she has always dreamed of visiting Paris. But there it is quite difficult for her: Fiona almost does not speak French, and in Paris very few people speak English. At the same time, Martha does not open the door and does not answer Fiona’s calls on the phone.
And then, as a result of a small fall in the Seine, Fiona loses both her backpack with all the money and documents, and her phone, so the situation becomes extremely difficult.
The backpack ends up in the hands of Dominic (Dominic Abel) – a cute clochard who lives in a tent right under the Statue of Liberty. Dominic is terribly happy with the find: after all, there are things and a rather large amount of money. Now Dominic will be able to dress up and throw himself a luxurious dinner in a restaurant on the water. Fiona will come to the same restaurant to eat.
Belgian Dominique Abel and Canadian Fiona Gordon met in Paris: they both studied at the theater studio of Jacques Lecoq. They created a creative tandem: they wrote scripts for their performances and toured different countries, they also made several short films together. In 1987, the couple officially got married.
In 2005, Dominic and Fiona, in collaboration with director Bruno Romy, filmed the feature film “Iceberg” according to their script, and they played the main roles in the film. The picture was well received, after which Dominique, Fiona and Romy shot two more films: “Rumba” and “Fairy”, for which they also wrote the script and in which they played the main roles.
“Miracles in Paris” (original title translated as “Barefoot Paris”) is the first film that Dominique and Fiona made without Bruno Romy. They traditionally played the main roles, and the role of Aunt Martha was played by the legendary French actress Emmanuelle Riva. Unfortunately, Emmanuelle Riva did not live to see the release of the film: she died at the age of ninety two months before the release of the picture.
Pierre Richard also appears in one of the episodes of the picture: he plays an old acquaintance of Martha Norman, with whom she danced more than forty years ago.
I didn’t know anything about the films of this tandem, and I saw a mention of “Miracles in Paris” in the feed of a friend on Facebook, where the picture was introduced as a Franco-Belgian arthouse. Well, arthouse is different from arthouse, but from time to time I want to watch something non-standard, because you get pretty tired of all this endless mainstream stamping, you want to break the stereotype.
So, what exactly the stereotype will be broken here – it became clear literally in the second minute, when the postwoman who brought the letter to Fiona is struggling with a blizzard to close the door, and people in the room are taking “gone with the wind” poses.
Well, a specific shizuha went on: clumsy Fiona with her ridiculous huge red backpack, with which she goes through the entire film, except for a period of short separation, Dominic, a cool clochard who will fall in love with Fiona, and she will have little chance of getting rid of Dominic, Aunt Martha , who performed a tricky combination to get rid of the guardianship authorities, the funeral of Aunt Martha, the scattering of the ashes of Martha and Dominic, the walks of Fiona, Dominic and Martha along the Eiffel Tower, again the scattering of the ashes of Martha – in that sequence.
All this is filmed in a very, very unusual way, the style is somewhat reminiscent of old silent comedies, although the film is sound and the characters talk and even make speeches from time to time. It has a lot of bright colors, and Fiona and Dominic are two color spots of the two main characters: Fiona in green, Dominic in yellow.
Fiona’s dance with Dominic in the floating restaurant when they first met is absolutely gorgeous, I then revised it a couple of times. Dominik’s inspiring speech at Aunt Martha’s funeral, where he started for health, and for some reason ended for peace, fits perfectly into the atmosphere of light madness reigning in this film.
The older generation in the person of Pierre Richard and Emmanuelle Riva also flashed with the dance – however, it was a dance of one foot, but it was invented and staged absolutely wonderfully, a straight Chaplin-level episode!
The scattering of the ashes of Aunt Martha, on the one hand, evoked a similar episode from The Big Lebowski, but here everything was decided in a completely original way and in its own way, it also turned out to be an excellent episode.
The picture is very unusual, for sure not everyone will like it. I think that ninety percent of people who tried to watch it just out of interest will stop watching somewhere in the tenth or fifteenth minute, because they are simply not used to such film language. And I really like the atmosphere of a kind of movie shizuha, and shizuha is fun, not confused. From a movie more or less similar in style – my favorite is “In the still pool” by Bruno Dumont, although that film is much more black humor.
Here everything is more fun and romantic. And that the main characters are two complete freaks, well, that’s great, because, firstly, Fiona and Dominic are charming freaks, and secondly, freaks have the right to happiness, don’t they?
But be careful. If for some strange reason you suddenly like this film, then there is a danger of getting hooked on the works of this couple: for example, I will definitely watch Rumba now, and I will also try Iceberg if I find it.
PS Now the question is: where can I get it, if suddenly something (and it was not released in the license, that’s why I am writing)? There is here and here the same quality with the same many-voiced voiceover. The translation seems to be quite decent, and the text there is simple.
Miracles in Paris / Paris pieds nus / Lost in Paris movie meaning
Directed by: Dominique Abel, Fiona Gordon Cast: Dominique Abel, Fiona Gordon, Emmanuelle Riva, Pierre Richard, Emmy Boissard Pamel, Celine Laurenti, Charlon Dubery, David Paladino, Frédéric Meyer, Guillaume Delvin
Arthouse comedy, France-Belgium, 2016, 82 min.