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IFC presents

Dans Paris (2007)

“Despite the evidence, I’m not this story’s hero. So I’ll give myself the right to be the narrator.”- Jonathan (Louis Garrel)

Stars: Romain Duris, Louis Garrel, Guy Marchand
Other Stars: Joana Preiss, Marie-France Pisier, Alice Butaud
Director: Christophe Honoré

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (adult situations, nudity)
Run Time: 01h:33m:57s
Release Date: 2008-05-06
Genre: foreign

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B+ BB+B+ C


DVD Review

French director Christophe Honoré’s latest film, Dans Paris translates to Inside Paris in English. The title speaks volumes for this tale about the pursuit of love in the most romantic city in the world. Stories about Paris have been running rampant among international movie screens over the last few years, but Honoré’s character study goes in a different direction from the likes of Paris je t’aime or 2 Days in Paris. He takes numerous chances that steer us from the mainstream family stories we’re so used to, and forces his audience to challenge themselves. While such tactics are off-putting to many, they are what independent films are all about, and this is among the best you’ll find in an art house.

Paul (Romain Duris) and Jonathan (Louis Garrel) live with their father, Mirko (Guy Marchand) at his small Paris apartment. Of the two brothers, Jonathan is the playboy, spending most of his days jumping from apartment to apartment and visiting his numerous girlfriends. Paul is clearly, probably clinically depressed, having recently broken up with Anna (Joana Preiss), whom he can’t seem to make a relationship work with, despite an obvious connection. Together, and along with Mirko, these two brothers must set their differences aside to make each other truly happy in love.

The dreaded tactic of having an actor or actors speak directly to the camera and us, the viewers happens right off the bat here. Fortunately, the filmmaker informs us, via the character’s dialogue, that he realizes how risky of a move this is. Now, actually admitting to such a move could come across as arrogant and self-serving, but in this case, it settles the audience into the quirkiness of the film, and, more importantly, of the Jonathan character. His open, charismatic personality makes him the only choice to serve as such a pseudo-narrator.

While the film is freshly unique, Honoré still gives us many of the things we’ve come to expect from French films of the same ilk. For starters, there’s plenty of sexual discussion and nudity, along with enough cigarette smoking to keep Marlboro in business for a year. Most impressive is the gorgeous cinematography that stems from the numerous breathtaking sites that Paris has to offer. Even the simplest shot from an apartment window in this amazing city can produce one of cinema’s most memorable images, and there are plenty of instances here that are incredibly easy on the eyes.

Even with the opening narration from Jonathan, Dans Paris isn’t an easy film to become instantly attached to. The stellar performances make such an attachment a bit easier, though, with the always-reliable Duris shining once again. Marchand and Garrel are also very effective, rounding out one of the finest acting trios that French cinema has to offer. Some might not be very fond of Honoré’s style throughout, either, but it’s difficult to argue that his film is an arresting experience that, by its finale, has you in its grips and truly caring about the lives of these three men.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation more than does justice to the breathtaking cinematography that captures the beauty of Paris. The images are detailed and sharp, despite some intentional grain, and the overall color scheme is very nicely rendered. Other than the aforementioned grain, the transfer is free of any horrible print flaws.

Image Transfer Grade: B+

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio is also quite good, especially when one of the excellent songs on the soundtrack is playing. These tunes blend in perfectly with the rest of the audio, never drowning out the crystal clear dialogue either.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+ 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 12 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
1 Other Trailer(s) featuring Russian Dolls
1 Deleted Scenes
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Rendez-Vous with Louis - A short film by director Christophe Honoré
Extras Review: We get a few extras, including Rendez-Vous with Louis, a short film by director Christophe Honoré. This six-minute short is akin to a dress rehearsal for Dans Paris, with Louis Garrel bringing a similar charm to these proceedings.

There’s also a single deleted scene that’s essentially another discussion in the bathroom, and the theatrical trailer for Dans Paris.

Extras Grade: C

Final Comments

If you’re a fan of a good character study that just happens to be in French and is a bit quirky, then Dans Paris is just right for you. Director Christophe Honoré solidifies his resume with another excellent film, albeit one that isn’t for everyone. IFC’s DVD is a fine one, complete with very good audio and video, along with a few interesting extras.

Chuck Aliaga 2008-05-29