Seen on the Seine

2 DAYS IN PARIS Di­rected by Julie Delpy. Star­ring Julie Delpy, Adam Gold­berg, Daniel Brühl, Marie Pil­let, Al­bert Delpy, Alek­sia Lan­deau 15A cert, Queen’s, Belfast; Cineworld/IFI, Dublin, 96 min

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Reviews Film - DON­ALD CLARKE

HOW­EVER much you like Julie Delpy’s de­but as a di­rec­tor, you would have to ad­mit that it is a jalopy en­tirely com­posed of sec­ond-hand parts.

Delpy and Adam Gold­berg star as a young cou­ple – he could not be more of a New Yorker; she has Paris tat­tooed on her spleen – re­turn­ing to the French cap­i­tal for a week­end of smok­ing, shrug­ging and shag­ging. Ev­ery move Gold­berg makes has been made a thou­sand times over by Woody Allen.

Fol­low­ing Richard Lin­klater’s Be­fore Sun­set, this is the sec­ond time Delpy has chat­tered her way about Paris in the last three years. Even poor old Jean-Luc, a fat cat with a pho­to­genic de­meanour, ap­pears to have been named for one of Julie’s in­flu­ences.

More dam­ag­ingly, the pic­ture does deal in some very broad com­edy. If a di­rec­tor from any other coun­try had por­trayed the French as goose-tor­tur­ing, Sartre-spout­ing, sex-ob­sessed boors, the race-re­la­tions po­lice might have seized all the prints. If an ac­tor with a name less ob­vi­ously Semitic in ori­gin than Gold­berg had made his char­ac­ter quite so much of a ner­vous schmuck, he may have re­ceived death threats. And let’s not start on the Amer­i­cans who choose to visit Paris in Bush/Cheney T-shirts.

Never mind. Though short on sub­tlety, 2 Days in Paris re­mains an agree­ably divert­ing com­edy through­out. The film’s leisurely pace is aug­mented by a some­times quite sav­age evis­cer­a­tion of French so­cial atroc­i­ties, but Delpy – writer, di­rec­tor, com­poser and daugh­ter of two co-stars – al­ways al­lows us the op­tion of sid­ing with the lib­eral Euro­peans against the up­tight Amer­i­can.

Re­fresh­ingly for a work by a first-timer, the pic­ture is glee­fully, pur­pose­fully am­bigu­ous in its at­ti­tude to­wards the cul­tural clash at its heart. It is both anti-Amer­i­can and an­tiFrench. It of­fers cel­e­bra­tions of Gal­lic so­phis­ti­ca­tion and New York Jewish wit. (Though the Parisian habit, noted here, of clos­ing mu­se­ums ap­par­ently at ran­dom de­serves noth­ing else but righ­teous fury.)

You need only note the strange transAt­lantic burr that now char­ac­terises Delpy’s speech to ap­pre­ci­ate her own di­vided loy­al­ties. Her amus­ing, flawed ex­pres­sion of that rift shows real po­ten­tial. En­joy this qual­i­fied Bravo, Made­moi­selle.

A sigh in the city of lights: Delpy, Gold­berg

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