Montparnasse Bienvenue isn’t the first French film to follow a young woman lost in the city, flirting with madness after the end of a relationship. But it may well be the most surprising—and the most honest—in its way of snapping in and out of a keenly-observed comedic tone to reveal a more unvarnished portrait of a person in genuine distress. This non-conformist gem begins with thirtysomething Paula arriving back in Paris after ten years, recently dumped by her rich and famous photographer boyfriend, and now totally adrift, alone with a suitcase and her cat. Paula has to fall back on her chameleon-like ability to adapt to circumstances, pretending to be a stranger’s old school-friend to get a place to sleep for the night or claiming to be an art student to get an au pair job. Through these random encounters and haphazard situations, a picture takes shape of a generation faced with an unprecedentedly precarious future. And yet one walks away feeling uplifted, in no small part due to Laetitia Dosch’s deliciously unhinged, fearless performance as Paula. Montparnasse Bienvenue won the Caméra d’Or at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival.
This film is in French language, with English subtitles on screen.
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