Director: Cédric Klapisch
117 minutes, Comedy, Drama, Romance
Plot: Chinese Puzzle is the third film in director Cédric Klapisch’s trilogy following Xavier (Romain Duris), a lost in love and life charismatic writer, who’s experiencing a life change at the age of 40, when his ex partner, Wendy, decides to leave to New York and take their 2 children with her. Unable to live too far away, Xavier is forced to leave a successful career in Paris and follow them to the big apple, and there he encounters with old and friendly faces.
I have been following this series for a while now with no absolute idea there was a third film created. Once again I was surprised by Netflix. In the first film, L’Auberge Espagnole , Xavier is a student sharing an apartment in Barcelona with six other characters. Each character came from a different country and had its own style and habits when that small apartment was always filled with harmony and love. Good and long lasting friendships are woven, and we can see some of the characters in the other two films, only a little older and evolved. I remember this one fondly because I was always infatuated with travelling, especially to Europe, and somehow this film reminds me of my own worldly experiences as a traveler/ student, so naturally I was interested in continuing to the sequel film, Russian Dolls, when Xavier reunites with old friends for the second time and a new romance arises.
Cédric Klapisch (who makes a small appearance himself) chooses a magnificent cast for this trilogy starring the fantastic Romain Duris as Xavier, Kelly Reilly as Wendy, Cécile De France as Isabelle the best friend and my favorite, Audrey Tautou as Martine the mythological ex girlfriend. The story continuously revolves around friendships and love, when dramatic and somewhat comic incidents occur and move the plot into more confusion, but in a fun and enjoyable way. I have always enjoyed Duris’s face on the screen, when this role does nothing but justice to his talent and uniqueness as an actor. The role of Xavier fits him like a glove as they both come across to me as gentle and romantic individuals. This rising actor has several major film nominations, including a César Award for best actor, and for most promising actor, and a European Film Award for best actor. I guess that is why Klapisch decided to cast him for yet another brilliant role as Pierre in his 2008 film Paris. The other characters are also fun to follow as they are older and and better and facing a situation in life, which needless to say tangles together into one complicated direction, almost like a modern slapstick film. I have a favorite scene when Audry Tautou surprisingly speaks Chinese and I just found it to be so funny and cute!
I always find Ms. Tautou so adorable in films, even if her role doesn’t necessarily tends to be. It’s her child like sweet demeanor that gets to me every time. I’ll eventually get to reviewing Amelie, which is absoulutly and undoubtedly my favorite Audrey Tautou film. In my New Year’s Resolution- 2015 post, I declared I must watch ten films, among them is Mood Indigo, where Duris and Tautou reunite once more in Michel Gondry’s inventive and fantasy like film. Something about those two tells me they’ll be the perfect couple in real life. I just love the chemistry between them which comes across perfectly on the big screen.
I am a sucker for foreign films. Besides adoring foreign languages, there’s something about those films that always portrays reality in such a genuine way, if you catch my drift. To me it’s like watching a high quality and artistic reality show, when I’m comfortably sitting on my sofa and peeping tom(ing) other people’s lives. I get kind of sucked in the plot. And it’s easy to get sucked in the plot because it’s so real. Now, after watching all 3 films, It is impossible for me not to be so curious on what happens next, and that is why I hope this clever series becomes a foursome and there would be another sequel. However… with all my positivity spilled for this trilogy so far, I have to admit that this film is my least favorite due to its unusual slower pace in the beginning. At some point I kind of lost track of what was going on, and started drifting off a little. I think it deserves only 4 lollipops, which is still quite respectable in my system, but the 5 lollipop award goes to the first two film, no doubt.