Paris, 13th District (2021)

Jacques Audiard directs Lucie Zhang, Makita Samba and Noémie Merlant in this erotic romantic comedy following a trio of millennials making love, fools of themselves and financial compromises in the heart of Paris.

Sexy, funny, messy, visually crisp with sequences of eye-popping overtures and flourishes… and with strong but cutely flawed female characters. This is the quality and type of movie I was expecting when I read all those rave reviews of The Worst Person In the World over the last few months. This is the superior film and noticeably less white, less upper middle class… nobody here sees working in a bookshop as a dead end job rather than a cushy number. Work is dealt with subtly… Audaird frames it as an unavoidable compromise for those who want to continue their studies or live in a city untethered by family (duh!… but few movies acknowledge this as they are made by people from such rarefied background where this isn’t a tangible reality) but he also presents the workplace as one of the few places where people are in regular proximity – in the kind of constant contact that cannot be farmed out to technology like hooking up, masturbating or bullying classmates. There’s also an understanding that fucking can be casual and have emotional fallout. It is quite the astute, non-judgmental essay on modern life considering it is made by an old honky nearing his 70s… albeit an old honky who has made a fair few indisputably brilliant macho movies and is now trying his hand at something softer, more joyous. All his leads are hyper attractive, look stunning in the nude and sell the dialogue with charm and humanity. Lucie Zhang is a real find as the self destructive but sweet Émilie Wong (my kinda petulant fuck-up) and hopefully this will be a star-making turn for her. Pretty much any scene where she is present is electric.


Perfect Double Bill: Singles (1992)

Check out my wife Natalie’s Point Horror blog

We also do a podcast together called The Worst Movies We Own. It is available on Spotify or here

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