Cinematic Display of Grief
If you have a fear of flying or suffer from migraine headaches, watching most of Paris Is Us might be torture for you. And if you donít like non-linear storytelling, that could also be a problem. This ultra-serious French drama punches your eyes, ears and heart. But you canít help feeling sorry for Anna (Noťmie Schmidt), a young woman who loses Greg, (Grťgoire Isvarine) the man she loves, and goes through a period of great suffering. Lots of flashbacks and flash forwards keep viewers wondering whatís really happening and if it happened. Plus, most scenes show Anna wandering through Paris and looking around without much interaction with whatís going on. Certain places remind Anna of Greg, and her melancholy seems to grow deeper.
Anna and Greg first met each other while dancing during one night in Paris, and it was magical for them. But not long after they became a couple, Greg wanted to move to Barcelona for work. Anna hates that idea. She thinks Paris ties them together. Sadly, Greg books plane tickets for both of them, but Anna stays in Paris. When Greg dies in the plane crash, she refuses to believe it right away. She even fantasizes another outcome. And thatís not all -- but I donít want to include any spoilers.
Annaís situation motivated me to write the poem below.
Pure grief and all its sorrow sides
emerge in images and sighs.
Pounding music and flashing light
repeat a meeting in the night.
Paris Is Us reaches inside
and takes us on a painful ride.
Loss and loneliness spin around
with guilt as company unbound.
What if? becomes a constant thought.
The outer world cannot be bought.
A film like this, more felt than seen,
cries out for empathy on screen.
Paris Is Us ranks as the Number One most intense movie about the grieving process I have ever seen. Itís not an entertaining film. But it makes us think about and feel compassion for people going through similar situations. Also, both lead actors do their characters justice, and director Elisabeth Voglerís unusual cinematography includes some intriguing shots of Paris.
Denial helps us pace our feelings of grief. There is grace in grief. Itís natureís way of letting in only as much as we can handle. --- Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
Grief is the price we pay for love. --- Queen Elizabeth II
(Released by Netflix; not rated by MPAA.)
For more information about Paris Is Us, go to the IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes website.