Photo of the Week

Paris-Update-EiffelTower

The Eiffel Tower seen from a rooftop in Montparnasse on a smoggy day. © Paris Update

 

Paris Update This Week’s Events

For full details about an event, click on the title to visit the official Web site (in English when available).

Women’s March on Paris
> The day after Donald Trump’s inauguration, women will march in cities around the world. Starts at the Parvis des Droits Humains, Trocadero, at 2pm, crosses the Pont d’Iéna and ends at the Mur pour la Paix at 4:30pm.

Behind closed doors
> Book now to visit places in Paris that are normally closed during Paris Face Cachée, including a lab trying to find cures for genetic diseases, located in a glass building with a panoramic roof terrace. Various venues, Paris and suburbs, Jan. 27-29.

Book signing
> Irish author Donal Ryan signs copies of his latest book, The Thing About December. Irish Cultural Center, Paris, Jan. 19.

Late-Night Magritte
> The Magritte exhibition at the Centre Pompidou will stay open until 10pm from Jan. 19 through the last day, Jan. 23.

Drinkathon
> Paris Cocktail Week offers master classes, special restaurant menus with cocktail/food pairings and other festivities. Various venues, Paris, Jan. 21-28.

Young European photographers
> The Festival Circulation(s) features emerging photographers. Centquatre, Paris, Jan. 21-March 5.

Picasso at the airport
> The exhibition "Picasso Plein Soleil" presents works made by the master while living on the Côte d’Azur. Espace Musées, Charles-de-Gaulle Airport 2E, Jan. 21-June 15.

Cheap cinema
> During the Festival Cinéma Télérama, you can see a selection of last year’s best films for only €3.50 each with the purchase of Télérama magazine (Jan. 11 and 18 issues). Various cinemas, Jan. 18-24.

Free subtitled French films
> My French Film Festival offers frees streaming of French movies. Through Feb. 13.

Frank Capra Retrospective
> The great American director in the spotlight. Cinémathèque Française, Paris, through Feb. 27.

Sex, Lies and Corruption
> The Hollywood Décadent festival features such films as Joseph Mankiewicz’s Cleopatra with Elizabeth Taylor, Valley of the Dolls, and Vincente Minnelli’s Nina. Cinémathèque Française, Paris, through Jan. 25.

Chinese New Wave
> Nouvelles Voix du Cinéma Chinois screens films by a new generation of directors beginning around the turn of the 21st-century. Cinémathèque Française, Paris, through Feb. 20.

Winter sales
> Retail sales all over France: through Feb. 21.

Ice-Skating Rinks
> Where to ice skate in Paris, including the Eiffel Tower and the Grand Palais.

English plays in French
> Two plays by Harold Pinter, Ashes to Ashes and L’Amant, directed by Mitch Hooper, are onstage at the Essaïon through Jan. 24, 2017.

 

Film - Drama

 

Copacabana

copacabana, isabelle huppert

The fearless Babou (Isabelle Huppert) sets off to sell seaside time-shares in the middle of winter.

Copacabana, written and directed by Marc Fitoussi, is a fresh, completely absorbing little film about people – or rather, one person – you feel you ...

copacabana, isabelle huppert

The fearless Babou (Isabelle Huppert) sets off to sell seaside time-shares in the middle of winter.

Copacabana, written and directed by Marc Fitoussi, is a fresh, completely absorbing little film about people – or rather, one person – you feel you might have known. Isabelle Huppert steps away from the tortured characters she often plays to portray Babou, a free-spirited, unemployed single mother (no father is ever mentioned) living in the North of France with her straitlaced daughter, Esméralda (played by Lolita Chammah, Huppert's real-life daughter), who one day announces that she is going to marry her accountant boyfriend, Justin (Joachim Lombard). Babou is dismayed, because she thinks Justin is far “too serious,” but she is even more dismayed when Esméralda tells her that she is not welcome at the wedding. Esméralda thinks Babou will embarrass her in front of Justin's family and has told them she is in Brazil (where Babou has always longed to go but has never visited) and won't be back in time for the wedding.

The character of the “kooky” Babou could have been very grating, but Fitoussi has managed to avoid heartwarming cliches, showing Babou's annoying, selfish, wrongheaded and, yes, embarrassing sides as well as her winning charms. And Huppert plays it perfectly in every scene, expressing the rejected mother's hurt feelings with powerful understatement, as when she calmly says to her daughter after the announcement about the marriage, “You no longer have the right to call me maman,” as she clears away their unfinished dinner.

Babou is not one to take such adversity lying down, however, so she decides to get a job to earn some money and respectability. Since she has no particular experience, the only job she can find in the distressed north is a nightmarish position as a tout for a new time-share apartment building in the Belgian seaside “resort” of Ostend. Selling a vacation apartment in the streets of Belgium in the freezing wintertime is no picnic, but Babou surprises everyone except herself by excelling at it – until her nonconformist ways irreparably alienate her from her employers.

The great thing about Babou is that she is unapologetically and fearlessly herself, and you'll certainly find yourself rooting for her. I have only one small complaint about this movie: the ending offers a too-neat wrap-up that is slightly off-kilter with the realism of the rest of the film. Otherwise Copacabana is a great little movie.

Heidi Ellison

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