Émilie meets Camille who is attracted to Nora, who crosses paths with Amber. Three girls and a boy – They’re friends, sometimes lovers and often both.
Jacques Audiard’s latest movie is a story about the interlinked lives of 3 young Parisien’s making their way in life and love in modern times. It’s shot in monochrome which can often single pretensions on the director’s part, but it works well for this film which feels a bit more old fashioned, eschewing the tendency to view modern love entirely through the prism of social media and dating apps (although this is a millennial movie, of course they do feature to a point!). It’s a French film, so expect a lot of sex and philosophising – you’ll know already if this is your bag or not!
‘Paris, 13th District’ takes on the form of an episodic structure, where we follow each of the three primary characters as the protagonist in their own sections, with the other main characters dropping in and out as required. This approach mostly worked for me, although I did find myself wanting to spend more time with Emilie (Lucie Zhang), with her screentime reduced after the first third of the film focusing on her. We begin with her as she welcomes a new roommate, Camille (Makita Samba), a teacher studying for a doctorate, who she immediately forms a sexual connection with. Camille is less keen than her and subsequently develops an attraction to Nora (Noémie Merlant), who has dropped out of law school after being mistaken for a prominent cam girl. If you wanted to simplify the plot you could say this is a love triangle, but it’s not quite as straightforward as that as the characters meet at different times, although I felt that the way the film ended undercut this relaxed approach a little bit.
I thought this film, whilst minor in scope, was a really enjoyable movie to get lost in and I enjoyed spending time with these characters. Their concerns and worries seemed quite relatable and I thought Audiard (and fellow writers Celine Sciamma, who does everything these days (!) and Lea Mysius) had a good handle on millennial life (I hate the phrase millennial…). Added to the story is the visual style which is superb to look at, and I was a big fan of ‘Paris, 13th District’.
Directed By: Jacques Audiard
Starring: Lucie Zhang, Makita Samba, Noémie Merlant and Jehnny Beth