Chris Knipp Writing: Movies, Politics, Art


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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2012 6:33 am 
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PARIS MOVIE REPORT (MAY 2012)

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Delpy's family problems, from another angle

Julie Delpy has made a companion piece to her 2007 2 Days in Paris, which depicted a couple traveling in the City of Light, and meeting family. The walk-and-talk style owed something obvious to Linklater's two films, Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, which constitute Delpy's claim to fame for US viewers, despite the many other films she's been in. Her 2010 directorial and acting excursion into costume drama, The Countess got only a Video on Demand US release. After that her Skylab, a very chatty busy all-French study of a big family on vacation several decades ago, had no US market value.

This time the couple is Julie plus Chris Rock, well established in Manhattan, which the film has some nice, if cursory, tribute shots of. Her character Marion is, as in the Paris episode, an art photographer, now having an opening showing a new series. She's raising the kid she had with her ex-, Adam Goldberg. Mingus (Rock) is a writer for the Village Voice who also has a radio talk show, during which he occasionally comments on what's going on in his life. Her father, sister, and (unexpectedly) her sister's boyfriend with whom she had a brief tumble once, arrive for a visit, and the jokes begin, playing upon surprisingly stereotypical images of French people as gross overeaters with an imperfect notion of privacy or decency.

There are lots of good little details, and Chris Rock adds a helpful detached point of view, a sharpness to contrast with the sloppy edges of the French relatives, but there is none of the ironic bite the Paris entry provided. Delpy as actress has provided an essential element in Richard Linklater's classic pair of decade-apart romantic conversations, Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. Why she has preferred a tone of sub-Apatow grossierté for her own work as a filmmaker remains a mystery. Of course 2 Days in New York, which picks up the same female protagonist played by Delpy in a different situation (she has broken up with Jack, of the Paris trip, father of her kid), is a kind of sequel, as Before Sunset was to Before Sunrise, but not as consistently pursued and without the same control of tone.

2 Days in New York debuted at Sundance and played at Tribeca and other festivals, opening in French theaters the end of March and in some other countries in May. It has a limited US release from August 10, 2012. Viewed for this review at a public screening in Paris at the UGC Odéon, May 7, 2012. Delpy is working fast: her documentary look at the life of musician Joe Strummer, The Right Profile is coming shortly.

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©Chris Knipp. Blog: http://chrisknipp.blogspot.com/.


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