Saw Julie Delpy's film yesterday, about a French photographer and her New York boyfriend, and their very un-romantic stay in Paris with her family, friends, and numerous exes. While there is an attempt to make a general statement about adult relationships, this is really just another re-hash of the classic "frog-eating, free-love-indulging, once-a-week-washing Frenchie" meets "puritan, hypochondriac, fast-food-obsessed, only-English-speaking Yank" scenario. It is the French that are the most vividly and somewhat cruelly portrayed, in the form of Delpy's neo-68, left-wing artistic entourage. Theirs is not the Paris of Amelie and her garden-gnome. Their Paris is rude, dirty, often obscene, and enjoys nothing more than laughing at the Americans' expense, especially if some frightening carcass of a formerly cute animal is involved. The cliches are all there, with a couple post-9/11 nuances thrown in for good measure, but they are taken to such outrageous extremes and replicated with such evident fondness by Delpy that, instead of being insulting, the film is for the most part really funny. It is a shame, though, that films about that complex, passionate relationship between France and America must always be reduced to slap-stick comedy.
Speaking of inter-cultural mayhem, tonight I have a second opportunity to meet my future classmates. The great tell-all will be posted tomorrow.