Part Parisian travelogue, part Robert Altman film, Cedric Klapisch's Paris is engaging without really being memorable. It ends almost where it starts, and so feels like it doesn't go much of anywhere at all.
Klapisch's film begins and ends with Pierre (Romain Duris), a dancer whose doctor tells him his recent collapses are caused by a serious heart problem. He needs a transplant - and complete rest until a donor is found.
So he sequesters himself in his Paris apartment, where he is tended to by his divorced sister Elise (Juliette Binoche) and her children. His only diversion is watching his neighbors from his balcony, where he spends his days in lonely voyeuristic seclusion.
The neighbors he watches include a pretty coed (Melanie Laurent), who becomes the object of obsession for one of her professors (another neighbor, played by Fabrice Lucchini). The film plugs into his story more than her and, by extension, the life of his architect brother (Francois Cluzet).
The film also follows Elise to the local outdoor market, where she shops and becomes involved with the various shopkeepers. Elise's daughter is friends with the daughter of a woman who runs a vegetable stand with her soon-to-be-ex-husband. So the film takes a tangential interest in her, her ex and his colleagues.
It's all vague and episodic, a slice of lives that are never particularly interesting. The most intriguing character is the dancer - but he has nothing to do except look wistfully from his balcony and utter stop-and-smell-the-roses platitudes.
There's obviously more than that to Paris - but not to "Paris."
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