“After all, this is France!”
French friend, Pascal Fonquernie (Parismarais.com), agreed to join me to see Julie Delpy’s film, “2 Days in Paris” on a cold, rainy, summer night at a small theater at La Bastille. Hollywood journal “Variety” loved it, calling it “entertaining, a deliciously played walk-and-talker” and included, “The spirit of early Woody Allen is alive and well on the streets of the French capital…”
But the reviews aren’t what’s important. For those who have ever experienced the French-American culture clash, it’s a hilarious must-see as no doubt you’d be able to relate to at least a few of the collisions Jack, as an Jewish American interior designer, with many Woody Allen-like neuroses, and Marion, as a slightly ditzy French photographer with a typically French healthy sexual appetite, manage to squeeze a lifetime of crashes into two days.
Someone once asked me, “What is there to do in Paris in two days?” to which I replied, “Nothing. Paris needs a lifetime. Two days isn’t enough.” I was wrong…according to Julie Delpy who wrote, produced, directed and starred in it, not to mention, did the musical score. I was impressed how she fit so many key moments into not only two days, but a running time of actually only 94 minutes.
A few times Marion excuses the insane situations (considered by our American standards), by exclaiming, “This is France!” If I had a centime for every time I’ve said the same thing, I’d be rich. In fact, it happened just yesterday when I brought a newly purchased photograph to a specialty framer in the 11th that had been recommended by a reputable gallery. They told me to come now and choose a simple frame in stock so it could be framed this week, as they close on Saturday for ALL of August. (This is France!)
And so I did. After choosing a suitable mat and frame, an elderly gentleman quickly noted a price on a rough piece of paper (amazingly reasonable, I might add) and said, “You can pick it up on Friday between noon and 4 p.m.” When asking him to please take my name and phone and to provide a receipt, which would seem normal (by American standards), he explained he doesn’t give receipts and then in a huffy manner said, “If you don’t trust me, don’t leave it.” Why, Madame, this is France!
I suppose 13 years in France is long enough to not be shocked by such practices, so I left the photo in what is sure to be competent hands. When researching the film, one review described it from a typically American point of view: “At a stop in Paris, instead of bringing the couple closer together, they start drifting apart when Marion’s family acts impossibly rude to Jack and their love life starts to really suffer.” Funny, I didn’t find the family at all rude. In fact, the French family was totally delightful and welcomed him lovingly! From my almost French perspective, Jack was the rude one!
Sex is a main topic of conversation for the family, openly discussed. Prior to Jack, Marion had many lovers, all of whom remained her close friends and in which she saw no importance in their past relationships. Jack, on the other hand, spent most of his time being jealous, claiming to have cut off all past girlfriends from his life and now saw Marion as a “slut.” Yikes, big culture clash!
To all you single women out there who have healthy sexual appetites and see yourselves as just plain ‘normal,’ rather than a less-than-respectible ‘loose’ woman, come to Paris. After all, this is France!
A la prochaine…
Editor, Parler Paris
P.S. To all members of Parler Parlor: We will be officially closed August 21 – 25, however, you are free to meet on your own on Tuesday August 21st at La Pierre du Marais; Wednesday, August 22nd at Eurocentres and Saturday, August 25th at the café next to Lutèce Langues (Lucas) at the usual times! See http://www.parlerparlor.com for more details.