The latest from Palme d’Or winner Jacques Audiard is an alluring ensemble drama about romantic entanglements and existential quandaries.
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The latest from Palme d’Or winner Jacques Audiard (TIFF selections A Prophet, Rust and Bone, The Sisters Brothers) reimagines three graphic novels from beloved American writer-illustrator Adrian Tomine as an alluring ensemble drama about romantic entanglements and existential quandaries. Transplanting Tomine’s tales to a multicultural Parisian neighbourhood lined with ’70s-era high-rises, Paris, 13th District takes a tender look at the lives of millennials struggling to find connection and fulfillment.
Emilie (Lucie Zhang), a graduate of the prestigious Sciences Po institute, is stuck in a chain of low-paying jobs. Her financial strain is eased by living in the apartment of her grandmother, who now resides in a nursing home, and by seeking a roommate, which is how she meets high-school teacher Camille (Makita Samba). The pair become lovers even before he moves in, a situation that shifts from one of pleasure and convenience to one that magnifies differences and prompts each to re-examine their attitudes and ambitions. The situation is complicated further when Camille finds equal chemistry with real estate agent Nora (Noémie Merlant), who herself has a thorny relationship with online sex worker Amber (Jehnny Beth).
Scripted by Audiard with writer-director Céline Sciamma and Léa Mysius, Paris, 13th District integrates its characters’ disparate journeys into a fascinating whole. Photographed in gorgeously moody black and white, the film is subtle, seductive, and piercingly resonant.
Content advisory: explicit sex scenes, nudity, coarse language