Lost in Paris is a comedy from writing/directing duo Dominique Abel and Fiona Gordon; the pair also star in the film.
“Fiona (Fiona Gordon) visits Paris for the first time to assist her myopic Aunt Martha (the late Emmanuelle Riva). Catastrophes ensue, mainly involving Dom (Dominique Abel), a homeless man who has yet to have an emotion or thought he was afraid of expressing.”
This film follows in the great tradition of quirky European comedies such as Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s ‘Amélie‘ but also is strongly influenced by ‘fish-out-of-water’ comedies with the most obvious being ‘Lost In Translation‘. The film uses a mix of French and English with subtitles; which is entirely appropriate as language barriers are part of the comedy here.
Gordon’s performance as ‘Fiona’ plays innocence, naivety and idiocy perfectly while never taking the character too far towards comedy. It’s a credit to the writing and her performance that you are engaged from early on in the film and want to follow her story. Abel on the other hand plays our more straight-forward french buffoon ‘Dom’ in a performance that is delightfully foppish if perhaps lacking in depth.
Paris as a setting does not disappoint and we get to see all those landmarks you would hope to see. If you were hoping for physical gags then this film does not disappoint but they are perhaps a crutch for what is at times an engaging and sometimes sad meandering tale.
I found myself at times wishing the film would chose to be either all out slapstick ‘comedy of errors’ or a more straightforward comedy but instead it walks the line of both sub-genres in a delicate balance that is both delightful and irritating at the same time. For example the title sequence features a very clever shot of a snowy town that is built up gradually with roads houses and cars added but is followed by very obvious wind machine comedy gag in the opening scene. All in all this a great effort especially considering the writers & directors also star in the film.