Fans of mild slapstick will be attracted to Lost in Paris. It is the work of Belgian comedy team of Dominique Abel and Fiona Gordon. They bring a burlesque visual sensibility to their work.
The film is made up of three conjoined stories. When Canadian librarian Fiona (Gordon) gets a distressing letter from her 93 year old Aunt Martha (Emmanuelle Riva) who has been living in Paris the last forty years, she immediately heads to France. But when she gets there Martha has disappeared. Knowing no one in Paris and little French, she begins to search. But soon loses her backpack with all her belongings.
While Fiona heads off to the Canadian embassy to deal with her lost passport and seek help finding Martha, Dom (Abel), a hobo who lives in a tent beside the Seine, finds the backpack and immediately helps himself to anything useful. Events conspire for their paths to cross, but Fiona is not pleased with this man who now has her stuff. But having fallen in love with Fiona, Dom sets off to help her find her aunt.
Martha, we discover, has run away from her apartment because people from a nursing home were coming to take her. So she too is now homeless. Eventually all three stories come together, but in reality the plot is just the environment for various comic episodes.
The kind of physical comedy is in the style that reminded me of Laurel and Hardy. It is low key and situational. Much of the humor derives from Fiona’s nerdy, ungainly appearance and Dom’s total disregard for all social convention. The acting is very broad, as befits the burlesque style. The struggles to communicate adds to the comical nature.
Lost in Paris is a story of human vulnerability. All three of the characters are lost in some way. It is only when they find each other that they can find a chance for happiness or to know their way forward.
Photos courtesy of Oscilloscope