Paris, France (1993)

 “I thought this would be a long overdue sensory plunge.”

In the film, Paris, France the owner of a small New York Publishing house, Michael Quick (Victor Ertmanis) and his wife Lucy (Leslie Hope) entertain gay business partner, William (Dan Lett) and a new writer, Sloan (Peter Outerbridge). Sloan, an ex-boxer, has just completed a novel about serial killer, Ed Gein. Lucy and Sloan exchange charged glances, and when she finds him rifling through her underwear drawer, it’s the beginning of a very, very bizarre relationship.

Lucy has written one book, and she also has an unfinished manuscript called Paris, France. It’s the sexually charged tale of a woman’s no-holds barred relationship with a man called Minter. The film flashes back and forth between life in New York and the action taking place in Lucy’s manuscript. Lucy can’t finish the novel–and there are several reasons for this. It’s based on the autobiographical experience of an extra marital affair she indulged in while on her honeymoon in Paris, but the affair came to an abrupt end. Lucy longs for an experience that matched the one she had with Minter, and when she meets Sloan, she imagines he is that person. She tells him “take me some place I’ve never been,” and she’s expecting an explosive, once-in-a-lifetime tryst …

It’s a tall order to expect a stranger to walk in your life and pick up the action in your unwritten novel (especially if he hasn’t read it), but Lucy isn’t deterred easily. She’s the assertive type, and she tells Sloan “whether or not I’m your fantasy, you’re going to be mine.” And she means it. To Lucy, Paris is the place full of powerful memories, but it’s also a state of mind. She needs to achieve that state of mind once more, and she thinks Sloan is the person for her. Ultimately, Sloan is a bit pedestrian for Lucy’s tastes, and she tells him he could benefit from a trip to Paris. He argues, “guys like me don’t go to Europe” and defends his lack of European travel with the statement that “Ed Gein never left the state of Wisconsin.”

There’s something to offend almost everyone in Paris, France. Bear in mind that this is a film about a woman’s fantasies, and the hapless man who falls into her path. Sloan, Michael and Lucy are all characters with problems, and during the course of film, they use each other for various fantasy enactments. I watched this film thanks to the many complimentary reviews I read, and it was well worth watching (in spite of the disappointing ending). I particularly enjoyed the character of Sloan and the way in which he identifies with the subjects of his books, and the hotel scene is laugh-out-loud funny. The story is bold, original and wickedly, darkly amusing, and it says a great deal about the problems that occur when you try and make fantasy a reality. But if you have the slightest twinge of prudery, believe me, this film is not or you. From director Jerry Ciccoritti.

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