Christmas in Paris

Written by on December 26, 2013 in Cool Stuff and Reviews - 23 Comments

There’s just something about Paris…

I’ve known it from my first time ever visiting there, but its reputation preceded it really. There are more than a few films made with the sole purpose of reminding us just how wondrous Paris really is. So this Christmas, faced with my children being away with their father as most years, I again was looking for somewhere to go with only a few days available and with the Christmas period looming. A friend of mine was in the same position so we agreed that the best idea was to go somewhere close. So where better and more ideal than Paris?

Far from being the quiet city that we’d been told Paris would be during Christmas, the place was abuzz with the Christmas spirit and filled with an unavoidable Christmas market. The bars too, though less alive than usual, were also still alive once the night came in. Living in London now for quite a while, I don’t have to tell anyone just how different French men are from their British counterparts. “Wow, French men are intense!” My friend announced this morosely after yet another “intense” conversation that seemed, to her, much too deep and impassioned for a first meeting at a bar. “I know,” I answered dreamily. Intense for me was a good thing.

From my “field research” in the so-called heart of France, I easily could see that it’s no wonder that French film-making is also full of films to help us see the world in a way more similar to how the French apparently do: which appears to be (at least if compared to the happy-ending oriented, light and humorous, romantic comedy approach of Hollywood) a “darker”, more starchly realistic, and somewhat depressing portrayal of life, of love, and of what we can expect from both. There are quite a few films I can point to that demonstrate this fact. But there is one in particular that I saw just after my trip that did what few films manage to do from any country: demonstrate the desperate everyday effort of life, while also leaving us with an infused level of its vast meaning and a hope for every day. Not surprisingly, the name of the film was just like the brilliant city itself: Paris 

Beautiful, sentimental, and full of meaning, with captivating views of the city. It teaches us not to take for granted the little time of life that we’re given, as we never know when a moment will be our last.

Pierre is a professional dancer who learns that he is dying unless he receives a heart transplant. Unable to do anything, he retires to his apartment while waiting and begins to watch people from his balcony overlooking the city. He realises just how short and precious life is and how few people understand what they have while they have it or take advantage to live and to love for real in the little time that they’re given. During the film, Pierre helps his ageing single mom sister believe in love again and we witness the sudden, unexpected death of someone who thought they had forever to live. “If only they knew,” Pierre reflects as he’s on his way to either life or death. “If only they knew”.

If only we knew how important it is to live each day with meaning, with love, with life, perhaps we wouldn’t waste time so easily as if it will forever be there.

 

Stay tuned for next month’s entry on why it’s better to be a good person even if the world may “get you” sometimes…

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