Tag Archives: Film Review

Paris by Film

Marion and Jack try to rekindle their relationship with a visit to Paris, home of Marion’s parents — and several of her ex-boyfriends.

This past weekend I was in need of a good movie to entertain me while ironing so a friend recommended that I watch 2 Days in Paris. I took her advise and was thoroughly entertained. Marion (played by Julie Delpy) is a French woman living in New York who has been with her American boyfriend, Jack (played by Adam Goldberg) for two years. For a romantic getaway they go together to Venice followed by a two-day trip to  Paris where they experience a string of awkward moments and hilarious “worst date” scenarios.

I was especially amused by two aspects of Marion’s character:

1. She was completely nonchalant about sharing her personal sex life with her family. (Very not American)

2. She regularly got in pretty serious fights with just about anyone but  just as quickly brushed them off as nothing. 

I’m not sure if these are just qualities of this particular character or if these qualities are particularly French, but either way, I found them interesting. If you’re looking for a movie laden with culture, humor, and relationship chaos, this is definitely a film you should check out.

While I was at it, I thought I’d make a list of the other Paris based films I’ve liked. Let me know if you have any other recommendations!

Amelie, an innocent and naive girl in Paris, with her own sense of justice, decides to help those around her and along the way, discovers love.

 

 

 

 

 

A family travel to the French capital for business. The party includes a young engaged couple who are forced to confront their differing views of a perfect life.

 

 

 

 

 

Fashion photographer Dick Avery, in search for an intellectual backdrop for an air-headed model, expropriates a Greenwich Village bookstore.

 

 

 

 

 

Set in 1930s Paris, an orphan who lives in the walls of a train station is wrapped up in a mystery involving his late father and an automaton.

 

 

 

 

 

Three friends struggle to find work in Paris. However, things become more complicated when two of them fall in love with the same woman.

 

 

 

 

 

Descriptions and pictures taken from IMDb

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The Beauty Academy of Kabul

While flipping through Netflix, I came across the documentary The Beauty Academy of Kabul.  Having been thoroughly entertained by Salaam Dunk, I liked the idea of another documentary based on women in the Middle East and I was not disappointed.  The documentary follows the opening of the first beauty school in Kabul, Afghanistan led by 6 American instructors (3 of which were Afghan refugees) and starting with 20 Afghan students.  The film depicts the reactions of the refugees returning to Kabul, the hardships that the students go through to get the training, and the culture of beauty that is hidden due to the Taliban regime.  The film is really well done and worth the download.

 

Netflix Recommendation – Mao’s Last Dancer

After a long work week in our household, we decided to spend Friday night in. After some delicious Cooking Light corn fritters, I began to search Netflix and came across Mao’s Last Dancer. I personally haven’t been to China, but it’s definitely on my short list so I was interested. The 2010 Bruce Beresford film depicts the “true story” of Li Cunxin, a ballet dancer who came to the U.S. on exchange from Communist China, and his struggle to remain in the U.S. With flashbacks to his childhood and training in China, the film was full of cultural incidents that really struck me. For example, Li’s parents don’t call him by his name but rather call him Sixth Son (he is the 6 of 7 boys in the family). There is also a great scene with Li and the artistic director of the Houston Ballet addressing American frivolity and excess that was excellent (part of it is in the trailer). If you are looking for an inspirational, cultural film for your Saturday night, I would highly recommend Mao’s Last Dancer.

Salaam Dunk

Last week the IRC here in San Diego did a showing of Salaam Dunk.  I’ve never been much into documentaries but one of my students studied abroad in the Middle East and thought we could go together.  I have to say that I was highly entertained and moved by their story.  The film follows the season of the women’s basketball team at American University of Iraq.  The team is in their second season and prior to coming to college, most of the girls had never ran, let alone played basketball.  While their record and skills are somewhat dismal, they are redeemed by becoming a team and overcoming the barriers of ethnicity and religion.  There were a few things that struck me about the film: 1) I was amazed at their English; most of the girls had perfect accents, 2) they were very honest about the war and the fear it invoked, which made me really think about what they went through, and 3) I thought it was amazing how a simple thing like basketball could be so controversial but also was a vehicle for reconciliation.  Check out the trailer: