Monday, April 02, 2018

Paris Can Wait

Written and directed by Eleanor Coppola, Paris Can Wait is the story of a woman who travels to Cannes with her producer husband as she decides to go to Paris with another traveler where a relationship ensues. The film is a genre-bender that blends the romantic comedy with the road movie as it plays into a woman wanting to escape from her husband’s busy life in order to enjoy life on her own with another traveler. Starring Diane Lane, Arnaud Viard, and Alec Baldwin. Paris Can Wait is a delightful and charming film from Eleanor Coppola.

The film is a simple road story about a film producer’s wife who decides to go to Paris rather than fly to Budapest from Cannes for a meeting while his partner offers to driver her to Paris from Cannes. It’s a film that doesn’t have much of a premise where this woman is on a road trip with a man she barely knows as he would make detours into various places in France including Lyon. Eleanor Coppola’s screenplay follows three days in the life of Anne (Diane Lane) who is on vacation at Cannes with her producer husband Michael (Alec Baldwin) during its film festival as he is dealing with all sorts of problems and has to leave to Budapest. Offering to drive Anne to Paris is Michael’s producing partner Jacques (Arnaud Viard) as he knows about the places to go to where Anne finds herself feasting on all sorts of food and go to various places during the trip. Though Anne at first is more concerned about getting to Paris, she does eventually embrace the things she sees as she would take pictures of the trip while getting to know Jacques despite his flirtatious behavior.

Coppola’s direction is simple in terms of the compositions she creates as it’s more about the journey from Cannes to Paris and through the many landmarks and locations throughout the country including the city of Lyon. Coppola’s usage of the wide and medium shots of the locations play into Anne’s look into her surroundings as her original intention was to fly but was unable to due to an ear infection she received. Yet, Coppola would also infuse elements of simple compositions in the medium shots and close-ups to play into the interaction between Anne and Jacques as well as the places they go to. There are some unique visuals that Coppola would create as it relates to not just the growing friendship between the two but also hinting elements of romance though there’s reasons for them not to be together. Even as they do share some of their own stories of sadness yet find some comfort through the amount of food they eat and the wine they drink. Overall, Coppola crafts a splendid and compelling film about a road trip through France.

Cinematographer Crystal Fournier does excellent work with the film’s colorful cinematography to capture the natural look of the many exterior locations of France for the scenes in the day with some low-key scenes at night for some of the scenes at the restaurants they go to. Editor Glen Scantlebury does nice work with the editing as it does have bits of style in the jump-cuts and dissolves to play into the scenes on the road with some straightforward cutting for the drama and humor. Production designer Anne Siebel and set decorator Christelle Maisonneuve do terrific work with the look of the hotel rooms as well as a few places such as Anne and Michael’s apartment in Paris.

Costume designer Milena Canonero does fantastic work with the costume as it is largely straightforward with a few designer-like dresses that Anne wears as well as a few other characters in the film. Sound designer Richard Beggs does superb work with the sound in capturing the atmosphere of people at Cannes as well as the quieter moments in the film for the locations involving trees and rivers. The film’s music by Laura Karpman is amazing for its jazz-like score that play into the serenity of France while the soundtrack features bits of classical music from Erik Satie and contemporary music from the band Phoenix.

The film’s wonderful cast include some notable small roles including a cameo from Aurore Clement as a concierge at Anne and Michael’s apartment, Eleanor Lambert as a picture of Anne and Michael’s daughter, and Elise Tielrooy as a friend of Jacques in Martine who runs a film museum in Lyon. Alec Baldwin is superb as Anne’s husband Michael as a film producer who is dealing with the chaos of a film he’s producing and other projects as he has a hard time trying to find time for himself. Arnaud Viard is brilliant as Jacques as Michael’s producing partner who offers Anne to take her to Paris as he shows her the many wonders of the country while being a flirtatious man as it’s a charming and fun performance from Viard. Finally, there’s Diane Lane in a radiant performance as Anne as a film producer’s wife that is eager to go to Paris where she deals with an ear infection forcing her to go on the road where she copes with her own problems as she becomes fascinated by her surroundings and the food she eats as it’s just an intoxicating and charismatic performance from Lane.

Paris Can Wait is a marvelous film from Eleanor Coppola that features an incredible performance from Diane Lane. Along with its gorgeous visuals, mesmerizing locations, and sumptuous images of food and wine. The film is an offbeat road movie of sorts with elements of the romantic comedy all playing into a woman discovering the wonders of France outside of Paris. In the end, Paris Can Wait is a remarkable film from Eleanor Coppola.

© thevoid99 2018


Dell said...

Not familiar with this one, but now I'm curious about it. And pardon my ignorance, but is Eleanor related to the other famous Coppolas?

thevoid99 said...

@Wendell-Yes, in fact she's Francis Ford Coppola's wife. Roman and Sofia's mother and Nicholas Cage's aunt. She's directed making-of docs for her husband and children with many of the footage of the making of Apocalypse Now being what she's most famous for.