Dans Paris


Dans Paris Review

Can we take a moment and talk about Romaine Duris? Not to stray away from the subject of film, but where did this guy come from? The first time I saw him was in a film called L'Auberge Espagnole back in 2003, playing a humdrum student abroad living with a bevy of bodacious babes and a few quixotic chaps in a Spanish apartment. As it were, he also ended up in an American film that very year, James Ivory's vastly underrated Le Divorce. Impressions were made and when his name made a cast list, an interested "hmph" pressed its way out of my vocal chords. Then Jacques Adiard's The Beat That My Heart Skipped came out, and things changed.

Adiard's film wasn't just a great movie; it was a fully-functional jive. What still haunts me is the way Duris moved along to every funky camera move and dynamic scene with such disheveled, transcendent grace. The movie itself breathed in unison with Duris', performance making it easily the best French remake of a movie starring Harvey Keitel ever.

Duris does a fancy trick in Christopher Honoré's Dans Paris, a playful, unpretentious ode to French new-wave ethos. Duris, playing a man adrift in a suicidal spin-cycle, does what he did in Beat but he does it without the needed action of the film around him. Singing along to stupendously bad French disco music and crooning to his lover on a toilet, Duris took the flaring beat from Adiard's film and continued to dance alone. Yet somehow, this performance is nothing like the aforementioned one: Here he's crisper and full with an acerbic self-hatred that beams out without seeming overblown. If Moliere hadn't come out, you'd have no problem believing he could step into any character's shoes and make him the coolest cat on the screen.

Honoré had the foresight to pair Duris with Louis Garrel, as brothers, which shows both his insight and his eye for chemistry. As Duris quivers and freaks out about his ex-girlfriend and their spiteful relationship, Garrel gets out all his ballyhoos and youthful spirit while chasing around town and bedding a trio of select Betties. Garrel, who caught my attention earlier this year's in his father's monumental Regular Lovers, delivers a monologue at the start of the film that has more loose wit and smirking bemusement than the entire Ocean's Thirteen cast.

Honoré deftly blends the brothers' daily activities without the staginess of multi-narrative editing, which gives the film a sublime fluidity in both story and character. As a filmmaker, he films Duris's scenes with a studied comprehension, especially during his flashbacks to a venomous dance-and-strip between Duris and his ex. His work with Garrel has a lighter, spontaneous tone that offers a bit of warmth to this winter-set gem. Even the stuff about the divorced parents has been expertly calibrated. Whether they're aware of it or not, Honoré and his leading men have crafted the first French film in years that has humanity in its humor, a thought in its rambunctious brain and electricity in its veins.

Why dance when you can read in bed?

Dans Paris

Facts and Figures

Run time: 92 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 4th October 2006

Distributed by: IFC First Take

Production compaines: Canal Plus, Clap Filmes


Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 62%
Fresh: 32 Rotten: 20

IMDB: 6.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Christophe Honoré


Starring: as Paul, as Jonathan, as Anna, as Mirko, le père

Also starring: