Saturday, June 17, 2017

Paris Can Wait: An Interminable Road Movie Review

No one could doubt Eleanor Coppola's love for her famous husband, Francis Ford Coppola, after seeing Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse (1991). Eleanor Coppola at the age of 80 years, directed her first feature film, Paris Can Wait.

Paris Can Wait tells the story of Anne (Diane Lane), a discreet, reassuring and effective wife abandoned by her husband Michael (Alec Baldwin) who finds herself having to go to Cannes Film Festival in Paris by car with a French partner of her husband. Anne is always faithful to her husband Michael, but is not always happy, and tries to vent some frustration in photography, in the joy of discovery.

Paris will be able to wait because the two will go through several detours, with the opportunity for Anne to take stock of her life. It seems to me that I have seen this film dozens of times but that doesn't matter after all.

Paris Can Wait cannot be blamed for its lack of elegance, as a tribute to the French art of living, or at least to those who can afford it with a string of exquisite dishes served in dreamy scenery and landscapes smelling of lavender, where of course one never sees the shadow of an HLM. In the midst of this merry-go-round inspired by the best recommendations of the Michelin guide, Diane Lane shines with all her fires, as usual, playing the beautiful expatriate beautifully, as she did in Under the Tuscan Sun.

Its presence is not sufficient to cover up the shortcomings of a thrilling narrative like a road map, aligning the culinary orgasms, sporting a few sensitive subjects to better return in relay mode and castles. Eleanor Coppola could not offer a loveliest letter of love to France, celebrating the carelessness of the character defended with ease by Arnaud Viard, who transforms an engine break into a picnic, or a visit to the museum on occasion to reconnect with an old flame.

Diane Lane is not foreign to the discovery of European countries since she had already lived some time in Tuscany in Under the Tuscan Sun. In Paris can wait, it is France that is in the spotlight and you can already be certain that the whole thing is full of cliches. With the good food, the wine, the restaurants, the old towns, it will make you want to go for a holiday in Paris.

Unlike Francis husband, Eleanor Coppola's career has been punctuated by documentaries, real stories, and real life, finding in this art form it's most natural expression. But, at the age of 81 years, Eleanor Coppola demonstrates that she still wants to make cinema, embracing for the first time a fictional story, with the explicit homage to the beloved Europe and, of course, to her family.

The real intention of the film was to represent how life tends to flow faster. We are all in a hurry, our time seems to be continuously scanned by a mobile and we do not account for all the rest of what we have around. It is a kind of memento trying to savor the power of life, enjoying it every moment. The protagonist, in fact, has a husband who is not always happy, but the solution will not be to escape with a charismatic French. What is really important for the character, is to get to the end knowing that they can make choices.

The awareness of being able to make choices, to decide what to do and what not to do, expresses a lot of energy. For example, in the long journey to Cannes in Paris, Anne puts on a song by Phoenix in her iphone, after being tired of classical music of Jacques. The references and homages do not fail to manifest themselves in so many other elements that, in fact, very much characterize the interior of films by Eleanor Coppola, almost as if it were her own album of photographs and memories.