Paris at the Belcourt

Friday was the opening night of Paris je t'aime at the Belcourt. F. and I had seen the preview for this film when we went to see Into Great Silence (the French monk film with no dialogue - yeah, good times). The preview for Paris je t'aime immediately captured my attention and I excitedly nudged F., who grumbled "looks like the French version of Love Actually" - which apparently is just too much cheese for the man to handle. But, when I mentioned it last week, he good-naturedly agreed to go with me Friday evening.

I like the Belcourt. I like that it's an independent theater. I like that you can purchase alcoholic beverages. I like the old building it's housed in. I like the wide variety of indy and art films they show. It's a great little theater. And inevitably, places like the Belcourt attract some... interesting... patrons.

As I was standing outside in the long ticket line while F. parked, a woman came up and got in line behind me. She was short and youngish and had an air of bohemian hippie-ness about her - you know what I'm talking about. And I could just tell she was going to start talking to me…

Hippie Girl: Is this the line for tickets?
Me: Yeah. (thinking…"no, we just enjoy standing out here in front of
the ticket counter for shits and giggles")
Hippie Girl: What are you going to see?
Me: Paris je t'aime - it just opened today.
Hippie Girl: (grabs my arm incredulously) No way!? I SO want to see that! I was going
to see La Vie En Rose…but not now. Oh, I am SO there! It's a sign!
Me: (smiles) I've heard La Vie En Rose is good…
Hippie Girl: (ignores my comment while picking some sort of floaty out of her tea)
Eww…there's something in my tea…
Hippie Girl: (intense stare) It's so weird, but I've had this whole Paris thing going on for
like the past month. Like, I can't get it out of my mind and Paris references
keep popping up in my life. My one friend's little girl all of sudden started
calling me Paris last week - how freaky is that?…and she doesn't even know
about Paris Hilton! I really think I just need to go to Paris…
Me: (smiles) huh…wow…that is a weird coincidence.
Hippie Girl: So, are you here by yourself?
Me: uh…well…yes at the moment…but I'm meeting someone.
Hippie Girl: (nods vigorously while sipping her tea) So, have you been to Paris?
Me: Yeah, I have…a couple of times…would love to visit again someday (smiles)
Hippie Girl: That's awesome - ever since I got on this Paris kick I've been trying to learn
Me: That's cool - I wish I had the discipline to learn another language.
Hippie Girl: (looks at long line still ahead of us) I hope they don't sell out!
(At this point, F returns from car parking and walks up beside me)
F: (smiles) Hey
Me: Hey
F: (looks at Hippie Girl expectantly, waiting to be introduced)
Hippie Girl: Oh! Don't worry, I'm not her date, I just started talking to her (smiles and
sips her tea)

She continued chattering until we finally made it to the ticket counter and slipped inside the theater. Once inside, F. chose the only two empty seats in the very middle of the crowded theater in the very middle of the row. Thus, Hippie Girl had to sit somewhere else…

Fortunately we didn't have to do without other interesting Belcourt patrons, as sitting directly in front of us were two people…maybe two women or maybe one woman and one man (was hard to tell from my angle). The one who I was fairly certain was female, sported gi-normous fluffy pigtails sprouting out each side of her head. And her companion of questionable gender had one side of his/her head shaved while the other side was covered in lacquer-shiny platinum blonde hair. Next to them sat a couple who had brought a thermos of coffee and continually passed the steaming beverage back and forth. F. was blessed with a squeaky seat (after all, what would be a visit to the Belcourt without at least one squeaky seat!?).

Aaaaanyway, the film was enjoyable. It consisted of 20 vignettes, each directed by a different director. The connection was that they all had to do with love in Paris - "stories of Love from the City of Love". All different kinds of love all happening simultaneously in various parts of the city. Unlike Love Actually, the connections (if they existed at all) between the stories and characters were not blatantly evident. But, each narrative began with the last shot of the previous film and ended with the first shot of the following film. I thought the fluidity worked well and the variety of the stories was engaging and entertaining. The epilogue was (as F pointed out) sort of contrived. It felt forced - as if they were like, "okay, in case you didn't get it, let us spell it out for you". Yeah, bordering on insulting. They should've just closed with the last story - which would've been a perfect ending. All in all, it was a great cast of actors and a great collective of directors and overall I give it two thumbs up.

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