In conversation: A French and American take on Emily in Paris

Emily in Paris is everywhere: causing people to rage on social media, making us dream of booking tix to Paris again (someday!) and paused on TV screens, as people WhatsApp their friends to moan about how unrealistic Emily’s (Lily Collins’) stratospheric social media success is – who gets 200 new followers after posting a photo of baked goods? – and then swooning over how gorgeous Frenchie Lucas Bravo (Emily’s neighbour, Gabriel), is.

Critics – in the US, UK and France – have complained that it’s clichéd, ridiculous, lacks diversity and is deeply culturally offensive. However, it’s also totally addictive, even if people are hate-watching it, with a viewership that includes teens, their parents, and every Sex and the City fan who was excited about the premise of sex – and Pat Field styling – in another city.

For those who haven’t seen it, Emily in Paris centres around Chicagoan Emily, who gets sent to Paris to work for a top French marketing agency when her boss falls pregnant. Clueless about the language and culture, she makes a series of faux pas that sees her branded a plouc (a hick) and ringarde (basic). But Paris is soooo beautiful and Emily’s boss, Sylvie (Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu) and friend, Camille (Camille Razat), are soooo stylish, and the men are soooo dreamy…

One reason that Emily’s got everyone talking is that it touches on the big cultural divide between France and America. Who better to discuss the show then a Frenchwoman (CW founder Eleonore Dresch) and an American, kids’ editor, Jennifer Barton.
Continue reading “In conversation: A French and American take on Emily in Paris”

‘Cuties’ review: Despite Netflix bungling, it’s worth seeing

Film Cuties

Maïmouna Doucouré’s prize-winning directorial debut is a smart, empathetic coming-of-age drama.

Early on in “Cuties,” Amy (Fathia Youssouf), an 11-year-old Senegalese immigrant living in Paris, hides under a bed and eavesdrops while her mother, Mariam (Maïmouna Gueye), makes a few difficult phone calls. Her husband has decided to marry a second wife, she tells her friends; yes, isn’t that wonderful news? Amy, from her partially obscured vantage, can’t see her mom’s tears, though she can hear the barely disguised anguish in her voice. At the same time, she has perhaps never seen Mariam more clearly, a woman whose long-suffering heart and tough exterior are finally on the verge of breaking. Continue reading “‘Cuties’ review: Despite Netflix bungling, it’s worth seeing”

Films on the Green Festival Available Online!

With its theme “A Summer in Paris,” the Films on the Green offered a striking portrait of the City of Lights, its urban landscape, and its cultural diversity. A selection of classic, New Wave, and contemporary films by directors such as Agnès Varda, Céline Sciamma and Luc Besson, showcased the city’s aesthetic, cultural, and cinematic history from dramatically unconventional angles. Discover stories of love, adolescence, female identity, and urban life in Paris and its surrounding suburbs!

Below you will find the curated film descriptions as well as links to watch them on U.S. streaming platforms!

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Girlhood (Bande de filles)
Directed by Céline Sciamma, 2014, 1h52

Girlhood, which opened the Directors’ Fortnight section at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, is Céline Sciamma’s third feature film (Water LiliesTomboy) to deal with female adolescence and identity.

Fed up with her abusive family situation, lack of school prospects and the “boys’ law” in the neighborhood, Marieme (Karidja Touré) starts a new life after meeting a group of three free-spirited girls. She changes her name, her style, drops out of school and starts stealing to be accepted into the gang. When her home situation becomes unbearable, Marieme seeks solace in an older man who promises her money and protection. Realizing this sort of lifestyle will never result in the freedom and independence she truly desires; she finally decides to take matters into her own hands.

Available on Hoopla | The Criterion Collection | Kanopy | YouTube | GooglePlay | Vudu | iTunes | Amazon Video

Subway
Directed by Luc Besson, R, 1985, 1h44

Subway is Luc Besson’s (LucyThe Fifth Element) ultra-cool and stylized romantic adventure which won French Award César in 1986 for Best Actor (Christophe Lambert), Best Production Design (Alexandre Trauner) and Best Sound.

Fred (Christophe Lambert) is a hipster thief who falls in love with the bored and beautiful wife of the millionaire (Isabelle Adjani) he just robbed. She wants her stolen papers back and he wants her heart. With gangsters and Metro police on their tail, the two seek refuge in the wild labyrinth beneath the subway and team up with the strange characters who inhabit the subterranean world.

Available on Vudu | Amazon Video | iTunes

The Tall Blond Man with One Black Shoe (Le grand blond avec une chaussure noire)
Directed by Yves Robert, PG, 1972, 1h30

A frothy French farce, The Tall Blond Man with One Black Shoe is a classic madcap comedy about espionage, surveillance, and mistaken identity. When Francois (Pierre Richard), an unsuspecting violinist, is misidentified as a superspy by national intelligence, outrageous antics ensue. As everyone (including Mireille Darc, playing a knock-out henchwoman) falls over each other in their misguided attempts to discover the tall blond man’s secrets, his best friend complicates matters even further when he overhears a salacious recording of Francois with his wife. The whole merry-go-round comes crashing to a halt in one final showdown, pitting spy versus supposed spy with hilarious results. Elegantly filmed and accompanied by a memorable score, The Tall Blond Man with One Black Shoe is one of the most seminal comedies of the 1970s.

Available on Hoopla | TubiKanopy | GooglePlay | YouTube | FandangoNow | Amazon Video | iTunes | FlixFling

 

Cléo from 5 to 7 (Cléo de 5 à 7)
Directed by Agnès Varda, 1962, 1h30

Agnès Varda eloquently captures Paris in the sixties with this real-time portrait of a singer (Corinne Marchand) set adrift in the city as she awaits test results of a biopsy. A chronicle of the minutes of one woman’s life, Cleo from 5 to 7 is a spirited mix of vivid vérité and melodrama, featuring a score by Michel Legrand (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg) and cameos by Jean-Luc Godard and Anna Karina.

Available on HBO Max | The Criterion Channel | Kanopy

Continue reading “Films on the Green Festival Available Online!”

Netflix’s ‘Huge in France’ Is Almost Great

Netflix’s new fish-out-of-water comedy about a European megastar who relocates to Los Angeles is a strange kind of failure.

There are moments during Huge in France when you can perceive what the show might have been—a semi-satirical, semi-screwball comedy about the acute insanity of modern-day fame. The new eight-part Netflix series exists in a meta universe similar to HBO’s Entourage, in that it’s loosely based on the real experiences of an actor and comedian, Gad Elmaleh. The plight of the show’s Gad (he refers to himself in the third person, alors, c’est vraiment Gad) is that he’s a huge star. In France. In real life, this is also true for Elmaleh, who by most metrics is a bona fide celebrity: He has 1.8 million Instagram followers, he once sold out Paris’s Olympia theater for a record-breaking seven consecutive weeks, and his former partner is the granddaughter of Prince Rainier III of Monaco and Grace Kelly. In France, Elmaleh is Jerry Seinfeld. In America, though? If a celebrity lands in a city where no one has ever heard of him, does he make a sound? Continue reading “Netflix’s ‘Huge in France’ Is Almost Great”