The Alliance Française French Film Festival is running in Melbourne from 8th March – 30 March and our writer in Australia will be covering a selection of the movies being shown. AFFFF is the biggest festival of French films outside of France and you can see the program and book tickets here.
Overview: Fiona, a French-Canadian, travels to Paris to find her lost aunt and finds herself quickly adrift in the city of love with only a homeless man, Dom, for company. Oscilloscope; 2016; Not Rated; 89 mins.
Fiona and Dom: Written and directed by its two stars, Fiona Gordon and Dominique Abel, Lost in Paris is a comedy of coincidences, quirks, and physical comedy. It has a lot of Wes Anderson about it in its sometimes fake-looking sets, colour schemes, and its panning camera, but also has its own identity, thanks to Gordon and Abel, who inject the movie with an energy and oodles of movement. The story revolves around Fiona, a shy, buttoned-up librarian, who gets a letter from her aunt in Paris asking for help. Once there, she instantly stands out in her green clothes and bright red pack (with flapping Canadian flag on top). She tries to track down her aunt but, in the process, manages to fall into the Seine, lose her bag, and find herself stranded. We also follow Dom, a homeless man who, following some great mime work from Abel, finds Fiona’s bag and all of her vacation money. Contrivance brings these characters together again and again as they make their way through Paris looking for Aunt Martha (who enjoys a plot all her own trying to to elude a trip to the old folks’ home).
Performance: The movie sometimes feels like it could have been a stage play or a street performance. Many of the performances are big, loud, and enunciated, or instead silent with facial expressions that could be read from the back of an auditorium. Abel’s mime work and Gordon’s stick-thin physicality are put to great use, particularly in a memorable scene where the two dance on a restaurant boat. The scene starts slowly but picks up its pace while, in the background, the patrons eat their meals unconsciously bouncing to the music’s beat. The two actors are so perfectly in sync that the dance scene, which may or may not involve the tango, works like clockwork, and is both romantic and funny. Here the camera playfully focuses only upon their feet as they jump, tip toe, flirt, and copy each other.
Overall: At a brisk 89 minutes, Lost in Paris is a whirlwind of a movie. You barely have time to catch your breath before you’re laughing or sighing wistfully at the gorgeous city. The two leads, both of whom celebrate their 60th birthdays this year, are incredible performers who get every single drop of humour from each word, facial expression, and movement. Lost in Paris is an incredibly sweet movie about love, family, and growing old, performed by actors who know how to put on a performance.
Featured Image: Oscilloscope