Paris Memories (2023)

August 1st, 2023
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: Alice Winocour | Cast: Virginie Efira, Benoit Magimel, Gregoire Colin, Maya Sansa | France, Drama 105′

Belgian actor Virginia Efira is the star of this survival drama that thoughtfully explores the aftermath of a terrorist attack on a Paris bistro.

Belgian filmmaker Alice Winocour has already touched on the affects of trauma on the human condition, particularly for women, in her previous features Augustine, Disorder and Mustang. Paris Memories is possibly the most relatable so far in its exploration of life-changing events. The threat of terrorism surrounds us all every day.

Russian translator and journalist Mia (Efira) sees her life ripped apart while enjoying a glass of wine in a busy cafe when a terrorist strikes. Haunted by the tragedy, Mia bonds with the other survivors and soon forms a romantic attachment to Thomas (Magimel) who was badly injured in the attack, although ultimately their relationship doesn’t quite ring true. Mia also makes it her business to track down a man who helped her to safety and here the storyline widens into the scuzzy demimonde of disenfranchised workers and illegal migration.

Winocour calmly unpacks the emotional toll of the attack of Mia’s private life as she retreats from her partner Vincent (Colin) leading him to suspect an affair. But this is by no means just about Mia and touches on the broader effects of the incident and the fallout it has on everyone affected, and not always in a negative way. Paris Memories is a tribute to those lost in Bataclan in November 2015, the Louvre Museum attack in 2017, and the Charlie Head incident in 2020. A deeply affecting drama that looks for a positive message of hope.


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