I’m “biast” (con): nothing
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
When we think of summer movies, we usually think big: action and explosions, superheroes and supervillains. But here’s another kind of perfect — absolutely perfect — summer movie: the exquisite miniature puzzle-box pop-up book that is Lost in Paris. This fourth film from the Belgian clown duo of Dominique Abel and Fiona Gordon (who wrote and directed as well as star) pits her hapless Canadian visitor against his insouciant tramp in the City of Lights as she tries to find the elderly aunt (Emmanuelle Riva: Amour) who has run away in order to avoid the social workers who want to plant her in a nursing home. The comedic pas de deux Gordon and Abel enact is sheer mischievous joy, buoyantly reminiscent of the Marx Brothers or Harold Lloyd, a tripping dance of effervescent physical slapstick and — in one sequence beautifully simple and thrillingly, unexpectedly rapturous — actual dance. All is color and light and exhilaration here, a fantastical lark that swings with winsome precision from laugh-out-loud farce to poignant melodrama. Somehow charmingly sentimental and casually disdainful of sentiment at the same time, Lost in Paris refreshingly eschews any hint of relevance to the world outside of itself: this is a magical spell of a movie with which to block out the real world entirely for an hour and a half. Even a literal translation of its French title — Paris pieds nus, or Barefoot Paris — sounds summery and escapist. See this movie, if you find yourself anywhere in its vicinity, and savor the delightful little vacation from reality it offers.