While watching this film, I get the distinct impression that I do not understand the culture of French people. I also come to realize that Roman Duris is an amazing actor.
Christopher Honoré’s Dans Paris (Inside Paris) is a 90 minute romp of a film that is ultimately about how two brothers choose to deal with the way their (broken) family has shaped their seeing the world. And it has a lot of scenes with people hanging about half-to-completely naked or in their underwear.
One brother, Paul (Roman Duris), fights with his wife, laughs with her, then fights some more, before ending up back home to literally wade in the depression of his mid-life. The other, younger Jean (Louis Garrel) is a University student who skips class to roam the city, happening upon sex with multiple woman in the same day, because, well, apparently he just can. The two are staying in their father’s apartment and it’s almost Christmas.
The film, in its choice of music and editing (free and choppy, presents itself in a playful nature, starting out with a narrator who talks to the camera and then joins in on the diagesis as if he hasn’t. Yet, at the core, the film deals with, and has quite a nice speech about, sadness; the disconnection that grows from within between people who know each other (too) well.
While I’m sure that some would complain about the lack of a proper plot or arc for these characters (the movie doesn’t really “go anywhere”), there are quite a few remarkable scenes that convey the kind of honesty that only a so-called “low-budget indie” film such as this can accomplish. One scene involves reading a children’s book (I assume one of Honoré’s own) and another involves singing a song over the telephone. The latter is an amazing piece of cinema, among many that save a movie like this from ultimately being a tedious viewing experience.