Paris, 13th District
A comedy in the classical sense, a network narrative that feels natural in its criss-crossing, and an exuberant showcase for its four protagonists, Paris, 13th District proves director Jacques Audiard’s skills translate equally well to any genre. Though based on three separate stories by comic artist Adrian Tomine, the narrative here moves by deftly rotating its characters in and out of its gravitational centre: Camille (Makita Samba), a schoolteacher stalling in his graduate studies, Émilie (Lucie Zhang), a poli-sci grad working a dead-end job at a call centre, Nora (Noémie Merlant), a law student just out of a long-term relationship, and Amber (Jehnny Beth), a camgirl drawn into the other characters’ academic circle.
This is anything but a campus narrative—all of its characters came of age years ago—and neither does it satisfy rom-com formula. What guides here is the pursuit of pleasure, both the illusory or interchangeable kind, and the one that promises something closer to permanence.
Lucie Zhang, Noémie Merlant, Makita Samba, Jehnny Beth, Geneviève Doang, Lumina Wang, Pol White, Anaïde Rozam, Stephen Manas
This film contains scenes of graphic sex.
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Photo: © Shanna Besson