'Paris, 13th District' feels like the occidental version of 'Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy,' but, unlike the anthology format of that one, this film interconnects the lives of its main characters, giving us a diverse view of the modern westerner way of life, especially the romantic one. Jacques Audiard and Céline Sciamma — strangely, her input feels thin, because the plot is very male-centric — translate the millennial struggle into a series of predicaments that show the frustrations and desires of young adults. Love, a good job, and freedom are the main objectives **** of Parisiennes whose lives get mixed in the most unexpected ways.
Sciamma and Audiard's screenplay —adapted from Adrian Tomine's short stories — uses everyday coincidences as framing, emphasizing how chance plays a big part in our happiness. The main problem I have with it is the ending; the outcomes of the relationships shown here are idyllic and not in line with the messiness portrayed throughout the film. Also, it looks like Audiard never decided if it wanted an anthology or a conventional format; the episodes sometimes feel too random, and the connections between characters are merely superficial, except by one. In my opinion, this would've worked better as a straight-on anthology. Acting is fine, though. Love how Jehnny Beth pops up in arthouse films every once in a while.
The Worst Person in the World was nominated for a Best International Oscar this year and even though it didn't win, it's an earlier example of this new "hang" genre. In this film, 3 women and 1 man interact as friends and lovers in Paris. There's not a plot, just scenes where the various combos hang and have sex. It does provide an interesting look at the priorities of the Millennial generation in France. All the actors create genuine characters and the pacing never lags. On the other hand, this film follows this group and their fluid relationships as an objective observation, instead of real personal involvement. (French with subtitles)
Unfolding at a relaxed pace and richly enhanced by DP Paul Guilhaume’s silky black and white images, Paris, 13th District is a candid, intimate, and authentic examination of the obstacles that keep young urbanites from connecting.
Audiard has conjured up a fascinating snapshot of love in the age of easy, online-assisted sex. Paris, 13th District feels both authentic and thanks to its dreamy setting, as romantic as only affairs in the City of Love can be, whether they involve courtesans or college students.
Audiard may know and understand something about romantic entanglements, family commitments, and professional lives. But by centering his characters’ desire and pleasure, and then filming these aspects of their lives with smarmy smugness, he sacrifices the realm of knowledge in yielding to fantasy.
If we didn't find so many ways to complicate sexuality and intimacy, cinema would lose quite a few stories.
How necessary it is for these to be recounted may seem like a different question, but to tell the truth there are many times when that line begins to blur, especially when you deal with sloppy stories like this one.
Paris, 13th District is a film that struggles fiercely to move beyond superficiality and in my opinion fails to do so, but that's its own fault, it's the fault of its approach, which tries to be bold and yet is completely mundane. From start to finish.
"Resigned and Without a Cause": the parisian multiethnic youth between sex and love in the chronic absence of a relational stability constitutive of the liquid society. Aimed self-referentially at those directly concerned, the others are invited to abstain. Criticism for non-compliance with the equal share of male nudes.