Fantasia Festival 2020: A Mermaid in Paris (Une Sirène à Paris, 2020)

A Mermaid in Paris (Une Sirène à Paris, 2020)

a mermaid in paris

Director (and co-writer): Mathias Malzieu

Cast: Nicolas Duvauchelle, Marilyn Lima, Rossy de Palma, Tcheky Karyo, Romane Bohringer, Alexis Michalik

A man rescues a mermaid in Paris and slowly falls in love with her. – IMDB

Being a huge fan of Mathias Malzieu debut feature film Jack and the Cuckoo Clock Heart (review), A Mermaid in Paris was a must-watch. It would be interesting to see how Mathias Malzieu would approach doing a live-action film knowing the imagination that he is capable of. This fantasy romantic melodrama is an outstanding effort by Malzieu once again proving that his unique eye for the visuals as well as the use of an older era of fashion and fantastical color palette all blends incredibly well together with his creative imagination that all comes to life in such an appealing way.

A Mermaid in Paris

Being a musician before stepping into the director’s chair, Malzieu also uses soundtrack in a strong way to build up the character of the film. He injects Piaf’s song as well as other song choices to pair with the times. In this case, he also plays on the mermaids and the myth of the mesmerizingly deadly songs of the sirens. This builds up the romantic storyline of Gaspard, a man who falls in love easily and has had his heart broken so much he feels that he has no more love to give and struggling to hold onto his family’s business that holds memories of his mother and a place for performances, who saves a mermaid Lula (Marilyn Lima) who he is immune to her song. Their romantic connection grows gradually throughout the film and Lula becomes a character that wants to get back to sea soon but also has the fish out of water story element, that I’m a big fan of as it brings in a comedic element. The chemistry between Gaspard and Lula is undeniably beautiful.

A Mermaid in Paris

The comedic element is enhanced by a stellar performance of Rossy de Palma playing Gaspard’s neighbor Rossy in a second collaboration with Malzieu. Rossy is a unique character who guides both of them in her rather whacky ways but also plays as an assist. All the happy things here with romance and comedy has to be paired with some drama and adding in a threat to balance out all of this is a revenge story from the girlfriend of one of Lula’s victims. If there’s anything, this character Milena is a bit frustrating at times however she has her purpose.

A Mermaid in Paris is a cinematic treat. The rich color palette paired with the fantasy elements; the mermaid myth playing along on the romantic infatuation that creeps up between them to a surprising twist; the wonderful performances from the cast and the colorful characters: all comes together to create this beautiful experience. On top of that, Malzieu doesn’t even forget to give a nod to the animation style using the characters in this previous film in one of the scenes as a background element. There’s so much to love with Malzieu’s filming style and his seemingly love for telling stories about the life-threatening dangers of falling in love. Its a unique way of telling love stories and its this vision paired with his imagination that makes his films so fun to dive into.

Valentine’s Double Feature: All I See Is You (2016) & The Big Wedding (2013)

Double Feature

Welcome everyone to the beginning of February! To those unfamiliar, and well, this is an informal announcement for the Valentine’s Marathon. I decided instead of using some specific feature franchise (which I didn’t even finish last year’s), I decided to keep up with the double feature, cut through some of those films sitting forever on my list on Netflix and catch up on a much of romance genre films. With that said, I’m doing my favorite thing: Alphabet Netflix… You will see that I will pair up films going through the alphabet. So we kick off with A & B: All I See Is You and The Big Wedding.

Let’s just say its kind of a rocky start… but we have to start somewhere…

All I See Is You (2016)

All I See Is You

Director (& co-writer): Marc Forster

Cast: Blake Lively, Jason Clarke, Ahna O’Reilly, Miquel Fernandez, Wes Chatham, Danny Huston

A blind woman’s relationship with her husband changes when she regains her sight and discovers disturbing details about themselves. – IMDB

All I See is You isn’t particularly a bad film but more a film that seems to want to be more than it actually achieved. It seems to want to go the indie route of making some obscure film with a little art house style and then add in some psychological factors but nothing actually gets executed properly. It feels like nothing reaches the potential of what it might be. I’m not sure if its just that I never quite got the plot or it didn’t get delivered to me so that I got the bigger plot here. My point being that it felt like the plot was going somewhere  and then it took a turn and the movie didn’t seem to know how to end.

Whenever I watch movies like this, its hard to be particularly excited about it because for someone like me that stretches the meaning a lot, I failed to find the point of watching this. It gave me a feeling wanting to go somewhere and it reminded me of a bunch of films that executed these different ideas better. I like Blake Lively but All I See Is You just didn’t work.

The Big Wedding (2013)

The Big Wedding

Director (& writer): Justin Zackham

Cast: Robert DeNiro, Diane Keaton, Susan Sarandon, Katherine Heigl, Amanda Seyfried, Topher Grace, Ben Barnes, Patricia Rae, Ana Ayora, Robin Williams

A long-divorced couple fakes being married as their family unites for a wedding. – IMDB

A star-studded cast to say the least for The Big Wedding. Robert DeNiro, Diane Keaton, Susan Sarandon, Katherine Heigl, Amanda Seyfried and of course, Robin Williams also gets a role here as the priest. Many times with movies like this with a family melodrama in the background, it crosses through a lot of plot with both family drama and conflicts which build up the connection to each of the family members and then its the romance line which has a much smaller line here. The wedding premise is where this movie fits in this little Valentine’s theme. Putting aside the romance, this movie was really disjointed. It had a few funny bits here and there but its not anything to be excited about.

In a movie like this, its hard to fault the actors themselves. Yes, even Topher Grace that I can’t seem to like was alright here although his role was a little silly and probably still one of my least favorite characters here. However, the problem is the script and the execution.

That’s it for the first Valentine’s double feature for A&B!
Have you seen either of these films? Thoughts?