2 Days In Paris
Julie Delpy is a funny lady. I'm not sure why that surprises me -- I knew that she was very involved in the writing of Before Sunset, and that's a smart and funny movie despite, y'know, Ethan Hawke. I know I didn't think of her as being humorless or at all untalented, but it just never occurred to me that she may have been the one who made that film as good as it was.
2 Days In Paris is Delpy's show -- she wrote it, directed it, plays the female lead, edited it, composed the music. You might think that she's overextending herself, but you'd be wrong -- she delivers strong work in every category, and as a result, the film's aesthetic is fluid and seamless. It's a comedy, but its humor is sporadic and diffuse, giving plenty of room for her to meditate on the dissolving relationship of her leads, or spend time taking in the scenery.
Delpy makes a point of presenting Paris as a living city rather than a romantic idea, pulling the viewer through crowded tourist traps, mundane housing, unspectacular residential streets, and giving equal time to crappy fast food spots and organic markets. She clearly has an affection for her home city, but is intent to contrast the realities of the place with the quaint image that her male lead is obsessed with capturing with his digital camera at every available moment. At its core, her film is essentially about the difference between an idealized image and its day to day realities, and the trouble we can have in resolving the differences, and getting over dashed expectations. If anything, her depiction of Paris is a parallel for the way her leads discover how unworkable their relationship has become once they've gotten to really know one another, even after a few years of being together. The path to that realization alternates between super-dry deadpan comedy and lowbrow farce, but when it comes, the scene is utterly heartbreaking without seeming even remotely at odds with the film's goofier moments.