Paris is a French movie starring Romain Duris and Juliette Binoche. Pierre is a dancer who is confined to his apartment by a heart condition and Elise is his sister who moves in with him to look after him. Pierre has been struggling to climb the stairs and has had to give up his work as a dancer. He likes to pass his time by watching the people he can see from his window. His sister Elise is a social worker and single mother who feels that her career and love life are essentially over. When Elise finds out that her brother is seriously ill, she decides the best way to help is to move herself and her 3 children into Pierre’s small apartment to keep him company.
Much of the story takes place outside the apartment and far from being a claustrophobic experience similar to Rear Window the film develops the stories of the characters briefly glimpsed from an apartment window far beyond what Pierre is able to observe. There are a lot of characters in this film and it moves between them rather than concentrating on the relationships or stories of any one group. The disparate stories and groups of characters don’t overlap a lot and the story can be a bit disjointed but this is done well enough that it doesn’t matter. Although I did occasionally wonder about who various people were and what they were up to.
As well as Pierre and Elise, there is Roland who is a professor of history who starts an affair with one of his students after being shocked by his father’s death. His storyline also involves his brother and his pregnant wife with whom he falls out and makes up over the course of the film.
The other main storyline thread follows the relationships between a group of street vendors who work in the market in the street below pierre’s apartment. Elise shops in the market and her kids go to school with the kids of the vendors and so Pierre and Elise become drawn into their story and vice versa but this is really the limit of the over lap.
There are also plots involving immigrants from Africa and members of their family who are due to come over from Cameroon to live with them.
I’m not really sure how I feel about this film. It was nice to watch and well made but felt rather disjointed and, although I like open ended stories, I felt that too much of this one was left dangling. Having said that, I do like the open ending that allows the viewer to make up their own mind about whether there is a happy ending or not.