Dominique Abel, Fiona Gordon/ France Belgium/ 2016/ 83 mins
As part of the French Film Festival
The 25th Edition of the French Film Festival got underway in Aberdeen at the Belmont Filmhouse with the delightful Lost in Paris. The film is billed as an ode to Tati and Chaplin, much of the interaction between characters is filmed in a combination of routines which flow seamlessly and with no need for words.
The film draws us into a Paris many visitors miss: the quiet city. Fiona has arrived from Canada to visit her Aunt Martha only to find she is missing from her apartment. We follow her frantic search during which she encounters Dom, a seductively engaging down and out, who just keeps popping up along her way. The film uses farce, clowning, modern mime and dancing to elicit laughs from the situation while requiring little more than a basic script. The use of long lens filming and longer spaces between cuts provides both time and a lavish stage for the cast of actors. Fiona Gordon’s and Dominique Abel’s background in the theatre, along with their history of working together, is evident in their ability to switch between social outcasts to balletic experts and only goes to prove where La La Land went wrong in trying to match stars who have not had enough time to build up any symbiosis or, indeed, any attraction.
Through skilful use of movement attention is subtly drawn to those who are overlooked in our society; those who drift along invisibly. Fiona and Dom are not conventionally Hollywood attractive but each has a beauty inside them to dispense and when they come together it’s just magic. Pierre Richard’s and Emmanuelle Riva’s refreshing performances add both substance and poignancy.
Cinema references are scattered throughout and come from films such as Pillow Talk and When Harry Met Sally. Overall the film is a hark back to old school filming with the attention to detail of modern cinema. This looks like it will be a lovely evening watching a comedy which is laugh out loud funny on several occasions. What could be better?