(Inside Paris)

Writer-director Christopher Honoré courted controversy with his last feature
MA MÈRE, an adaptation of Georges Bataille's novel about an all too
close relationship between a young man and his mother that featured rising
star Louis Garrel. Honoré's directorial debut, the impressionistic
, co-starred Romain Duris as a gay man who helps a
recent widow cope with her loss. For his latest movie,
, he has teamed these two actors to great effect, playing

The film opens with three people asleep in a bed. One, Jonathan (Garrel)
wakes up and goes out onto the apartment terrace with its view of Paris that
includes the Eiffel Tower and breaks the fourth wall to address the viewer.
He's going to be the narrator of sorts, but not the main character. It's a bold
move and Garrel's ingratiating screen presence helps draw the audience into
the story, which really focuses on Paul (Duris).

A few years earlier, Paul had left the city to dwell in the country with his lover
Anna (Joana Preiss, who also appeared in
MA MÈRE) and her son Loup
(Lou Rambert-Preiss). In a series of short scenes which are a bit
disorientating at first, Honoré charts the course of their relationship as they go
from a couple madly in love to two people who cannot seem to bare one
another's company. After they break up, Paul returns to Paris and moves back
in with his father (Guy Marchand) and his younger brother Jonathan.

The remainder of the film unfolds over the course of one day -- December
23rd. A depressed Paul stays in bed, confounding his father. Jonathan, who is
supposed to be heading off to class, spends the day roaming about the city
and encounters three different women with whom he has sex. Only one of them
-- Alice (the charming newcomer Alice Butaud) -- appears to have had a prior
relationship with Jonathan.

The day unfolds in a mundane manner. The father goes shopping, buys a
Christmas tree and makes soup. The boys' mother (the still gorgeous
Marie-France Pisier) arrives to try to reach her depressed son. Alice arrives
and falls asleep on the couch while the brothers bond over a children's book.
On the surface, nothing happens, but imperceptible shifts occur.

Duris and Garrel are a study in contrasts: Duris' Paul is moody and dark while
Garrel's Jonathan is playful and spontaneous. Each actor is superb in creating
rich and believable characters and their sibling bond is quite believable.
Veterans Marchand and Pisier as their divorced and still warring parents are
also excellent, as are Preiss and Butaud in smaller but no less effective roles.

INSIDE PARIS (DANS PARIS) is a pleasant surprise and a major leap
forward for Honoré as a filmmaker. In addition to the superlative cast, mention
should be made of Alex Beaupain's original score including an original song
performed by Duris and Preiss, and the cinematography of Jean-Louis

                      Rating:                A-
© 2007 by C.E. Murphy.
All Rights Reserved.

L to R: Louis Garrel as
Jonathan and Roman
Duris as Paul in
Inside Paris / Dans Paris
Christophe Honoré, 2006;
Photo credit: © Laurent Pons
Gemini Films