In Paris, romance is in the air more often than naught, and it’s nice to see the challenges of giving life to a broken heart. To see Gaspard keep it going may require a new drug formed by a mermaid’s tears, but will he take it?
By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
Fantasia Festival 2020
Played Aug 27 & 30th, 2020
Mathias Malzieu is a type of French movie maker whose output is very minimal because he’s the front man to a very active music band, Dionysos. The last film is an exquisite and haunting Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart (2013). One detail I noticed is in how the soundtrack in his latest film is like this prior work because of one signature tune over variance. It works with the last film because of the cyclic motif, but here it doesn’t quite ring.
More music is needed in the live action Une Sirène à Paris. Gaspard (Nicolas Duvauchelle) has one song to win Lula’s (Marilyn lima) heart, and it’s ironic because usually it’s the other way around on who woos whom. The translated title is A Mermaid in Paris, which may seem unusual. Anyone who knows their classical mythology will recognize a siren (usually more bird-like than fish) no matter how it said in another language. She’s a mythical creature whose sweet melody lures sailors to their death.
Jack and the Cuckoo Clock Heart (Jack et la mécanique du cœur) is finally getting a limited American theatrical presentation come September 24th, with a DVD and Blu-ray release from Shout! Factory quickly following. Fans of French CGI/animated cinema can finally see what’s next after such hits like A Monster In Paris (2011) andThe Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec (2010).
With this tale, the emphasis is with a musical drama that’s stylized in the same vein as Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge! It’s mythic quality comes from the surreal magic invoked by the fact that a life can be saved by inserting mechanical parts into a dying human body. But unless the survivor abides by certain rules, life cannot last forever. Endless love, for that matter, also is not without some caveats.