Three quite indelible stories about people in love (or not) as coincidences threaten to derail their intimate intentions in this charming Rohmerian comedy set around the beautiful spaces of Paris.
Cast: Clara Bellar, Antoine Basler, Mathias Megard, Judith Chancel, Malcolm Conrath
Plot: Three tales of romance and heartbreak: A stranger turns a girl’s world upside down. A heartbroken woman tries to find new love. An artist finds disappointment at every turn.
Distributor: Les Films du Losange
Subject Matter: Moderate – Relationships, Love & Life
Narrative Style: Triptych – Straightforward
Pace: Slightly Slow
Audience Type: Slightly Arthouse
Told in three parts centering on chances and coincidences, Rendezvous in Paris feels like a precursor to something like Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy (2021).
Here we have three tales about people in love, some more desperate than others, but as fate would have it, they all face some kind of karmic obstacle that threatens to derail their intimate intentions.
Whether they are really in love is also subjected to debate, and in true Eric Rohmer style, we even see some of these ‘debates’ manifesting as passive-aggressive conversations between the characters.
Each segment is generally quite good, but depending on how well you take to them, you might find one to be more indelible than the rest.
In the first segment, “The Rendezvous at 7PM”, which is my favourite of the lot, a woman suspects her boyfriend might be two-timing her.
“Maybe one shouldn’t reveal one’s feelings. But that’s so sad.”
The second one, “The Benches of Paris”, is a touristy stroll through several parks as a married woman attempts to figure out whether she really loves the secret lover that she’s with.
Lastly, ‘Mother and Child 1907’, a reference to one of Picasso’s paintings, sees a man ‘friendly-stalking’ a woman in hopes of seducing her.
What ties everything together is of course the setting of Paris (we get the requisite shot of the Eiffel Tower in each chapter) as the Parisians go about their daily lives, largely oblivious to Rohmer’s characters roaming the streets.
Rendezvous in Paris is one of his most naturalistic efforts, a charming Rohmerian comedy if there ever was one. While it is not heavy thematically, it wants to tell us that life is not always a bed of roses.