French Film Festival UK 2013: A Lady in Paris

by Ann Jackson on 11/11/2013

a lady in paris

Anne (Laine Mägi) is living a bleak life in Estonia as a carer, but after the death of her mother suddenly begins an adventure of sorts.

An unexpected call offers Anne a post caring for an Estonian living in Paris [hence the original title of Une Estonienne à Paris] , which she fearfully accepts and finds herself in even more foreign country than she had expected. Anne’s client, Frida (the legendary Jeanne Moreau), refuses to co-operate and seems intent on dying.

The film documents the slow and awkward growth of their eventual friendship, and Anne’s journey to understanding her new life. It also faintly explores celebrity in exile and the jealousies in emigrant communities. The Estonian community that once existed in Paris has moved on and Anne realises that Frida has been alone for a long time. Anne gradually discovers the answer to why her employer is both reclusive and vaguely suicidal, which turns out to include the local bar owner, Stephane (Patrick Pineau).

The focus on the contrast between Anne’s previous existence and her life in Paris explores the fish out of water feeling of coping with such a change, and the eternal draw of the big, bright city. Jeanne Moreau and Laine Mägi make a charming double act, thoroughly rewarding us for sticking around to see them reach an understanding. The film is a slow meander, but holds a few surprises on the way.

A Lady in Paris is showing on 12 November at Cine Lumiere, 14 November at Edinburgh Filmhouse and 15 November at Warwick Arts Centre

Ann has awarded A Lady in Paris three Torches of Truth 

three torches


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