Paris 36

Posted by schnolis on April 19th, 2009 filed in Reviews

MOVIEThe trailer for this movie concerned me. If a trailer gives a fundamentally different feel or vibe than the actual movie presents, then I feel tricked and it can be annoying. In this case, however, I worried the film would be too similar to so many other movies that are like it. I am quite relieved to admit my impression was completely incorrect. This movie was charming and endearing.

Paris 36 is the story of a group of people in a small suburb of Pairs whose lives revolve around a local theater, the Chansonia. Unfortunately for the town and the owner, though, it’s not making enough money. When a local business man demands payment for a debt or he will take ownership of the theater, the actual owner kills himself in despair. Everyone working for the theater is left unemployed and the town suffers a loss. The film’s main character Pigoil, a thirty-five year veteran of the theater, takes it very hard. His wife, a performer, leaves him. His son secretly stops going to school so he can beg for money so they can eat. Eventually he even loses custody of his son when the police find him begging and he’s left in the care of his mother.

Things take a turn some time later when a young woman comes town. She’s unknown to everyone except the local hermit who keeps in touch by listening to his radio. Everyone joins in together to try to get the Chansonia open again, and with a lot of luck they manage. But some schemes and interference of the corrupt businessman derail their plans more than once. Ultimately, though, the friendship and courage of the townsfolk wins out. Their love and determination are the eventual hope for themselves and for the little town they inhabit.

What I liked: The sweet characters who lived in this movie. The overwhelming loss for the character of Pigoil through most of the film was painfully sad but somehow endearing. The friendships and the enduring hardship that everyone faced was touching

What I disliked: Some confusing plot holes. The lack of apparent aging for almost all the characters through some rather long periods of time. Some of the shifts seemed abrupt or unexplained.

Rating: 7 of 10

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