Title: A Lady in Paris
Director: Ilmar Raag
Starring: Jeanne Moreau, Laine Mägi, Patrick Pineau
‘An Estonian Woman in Paris’ would have been the literal and more appropriate title for the movie ‘A Lady in Paris.’ That is probably the only fault – imputable to foreign translators – that may be found in the delicate story of the Estonian media executive, screenwriter and film director, Ilmar Raag.
The Baltic woman who goes to Paris is Anne (Laine Mägi). She moves to the French capital to take care of Frida (Jeanne Moreau), an elderly Estonian lady who emigrated to France long ago. But Anne will soon realise that all Frida wants from life is the attention of Stéphane (Patrick Pineau), her younger lover from years ago. In this triangular conflict a variety of life features emerge with great realism and tact. In fact, Frida, Anne and Stéphane embody different perspectives of the main theme: the relationship with life, old age and death.
The silver screen has lately portrayed a masculine perspective on disability and old age, with films like ‘Intouchables,’ ‘The Sessions’ and ‘Amour,’ delineating old males with grumpy and resigned characters. Feminine third age instead possesses a coquettish concern for appearance and entertainment, a vital grasp that still clings on to life’s delights. Jeanne Moreau exquisitely expresses all this zeal with a touch of aloofness. Nevertheless the octogenarian diva of the Nouvelle Vague does not shadow the two brilliant actors who act by her side. Laine Mägi has the calm and determined grit of Baltic ladies, whilst Patrick Pineau is empathic in displaying how his character is torn between the affection and gratitude that still ties him to Frida and the desire to break free from her to live his life.
Written by: Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi