Magazine article Screen International

A Lady in Paris

Magazine article Screen International

A Lady in Paris

Article excerpt

Dir: Imar Raag. France-Estonia-Belgium. 2012. 94mins

The sheer star quality of Jeanne Moreau shines through and illuminates A Lady In Paris (Une Estonienne a Paris), an elegant comedy-drama of manners and moods that could prove a tantalising draw for distributors of classy French cinema and will be an easy fit into film festivals around the world.

The film is driven by the sheer charisma of Jeanne Moreau.

This gently made film is something of a chamber piece - essentially a two-hander between screen legend Moreau and Estonian actress Laine Mägi, with a few telling interventions from Patrick Pineau - while also offering a delightful outsiders look into Paris. The film had its world premiere at the Locarno Film Festival.

While offering little new dramatically or cinematically, Imar Raag's film is constructed with a good deal of honest charm, and as wealthy expatriate Frida, living a solitary and lonely life in Paris, the role is perfectly crafted for the moods and mannerisms of Jeanne Moreau.

The film opens, however, in Estonia, where divorced Anne (Laine Mägi) is looking after her elderly mother. When her mother dies - and her two grown-up children rarely answer her phone calls - Anne decides to take up a work offer of looking after an elderly Estonian woman now living in Paris.

As she prepares to leave for Paris - she had studied French but never been to the city - she plays a take of a song by Jules Dassin, bringing a delicate smile to her face and a hint of a new, fresh, life.

Met at the airport by Stephane she is taken to a plush apartment where he tells her a little about the demanding Frida. …

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