‘Paris Memories’ was emotive.
This film is a document of a survivor’s existence beyond the France Shootings of 2015. It is much more than just a terrorist attack. ‘Paris Memories’ could be a documentary or a drama series, or it could be a rom-com, but in essence, it is the reality of its’ victims, quietly revealed.
We follow the life of Mia (Virginie Efira), who is plagued by that evening and returns home from a stint at her mother’s home to attempt to put her life back together. It has been revealed that we know it is a terrorist attack on Paris at the time, in November of 2015. She has a partner and they are, what seems to be, happy, before now. The shooting happens in a blink of an eye and we don’t know who is to survive. The image is fast, loud and everlasting. The rest of the film is almost silent and unsettling, in all the right ways.
It could be a work of fiction. But no, sadly it is not.
This story follows the life of Mia and her daily struggles, she doesn’t know how to live beyond this event that has rocked her to her core. Yet she persists. The film’s real title is – in French – Revoir Paris – to see Paris again, something that Mia wants to do, and we as the audience agree, so very much.
Finding links to the night that it happened, who she held hands with, who was beside her while she pretended to be dead, while the shots rang out, and these images haunt the audience over and over again, as we watch Mia follow the loose leads.
We believe it and live it with her, follow this journey with Mia as she endeavours to search for answers amidst the bustle of Paris and its nonchalant exterior. Does she find him? Wait and see.
As English-speaking voyeurs, we read “I was evacuated right at the end. Sadly, all the others left were dead. I tried not to look. The few I saw seemed to be sleeping. I hope that might console some of you. And, “the person I’m looking for leaned on me … had two bullet wounds in the chest. They were wearing a flecked purple or pink t-shirt. I never dared reach out for fear of waking memories. If anyone knows what happened to them drop me a DM.” The French is fluid, it drips beyond us.
This reviewer does not know the depth of this grief. It is beyond more than comprehension.
Her partner is trying to help, but Mia is shutting him out. “I wish I’d been in the fucking attack” he blurts out in anger after weeks of trying to help her. It seems, he simply cannot.
Intense close-up, lingering and unsettling shots of a young girl with bags under her eyes, who needs to say goodbye to her parents. She has found the exact spot where they had taken a photo just prior to the attack, she should have been with them but was not. She was young and foolish before, now she is weathered and plagued by this unnecessary grief. Shared only with Mia, our lead character, who has not changed her clothes the whole time, signifying that she cannot move on. Her leather jacket and hair in a pony tail throughout the whole flick, represents she is trapped in time, on the journey to finding out the answers she so desperately needs.
This reviewer is not going to tell you how it ends. You need to see it for yourself. But the long silences and portrayals of a tourist city in remorse, show the intense feelings of things gone wrong.
This was not the plan. No one wanted this for Paris.
We can all recall a France when we were young, as a tourist, as we purchased those keyrings, those lit-up Eifel towers, illegally or not. We, the audience, remember life before these attacks, with spoof.
Now, beyond the gore, we witness limited pyrotechnics and an audio of violins and drawn-out orchestral movement that fits right in with this story of grief, resonating our sympathy from afar, for a stupidity far beyond our imagination.
You need to see this film.
It is an education. An insight into a reality we are not privy to knowing in our ‘first-world’ existence. This reviewer cannot do it justice. Please pass on the messages from this film. Stories of hope and kinship, that whoever you are, you will always have someone’s back if times get tough, unnecessarily. You will extend a hand in times of need. ‘Paris Memories’ wants that.
‘Paris Memories’ opened in cinemas on November 8th for a limited Australian run.