Those few souls who were fortunate enough to see the Belgian slapstick comedy Iceberg know that Fiona Gordon and Dominique Abel are gifted practitioners of the comic art of Buster Keaton and Jacques Tati with their sight gags, pratfalls, and odd behavior. In Lost in Paris, they express their relish for the antics of three eccentric characters who are caught up in a romantic comedy unlike any other film in this popular genre.
Fiona (Fiona Gordon) is a prim and proper librarian living in a frigid, snowy place in Canada. Each time someone opens the door, a cold wind blows in, sending everyone in the room backwards.
One day, Fiona receives a letter from her 88-year old Aunt Martha (Emmanuelle Riva) indicating that this isolated woman is in some sort of distress. Fiona has a big heart in her very thin body and so she flies to Paris.
When there is no answer at Martha's apartment door, she decides to take a walk. Posing to have her picture taken, Fiona falls backwards into the Seine losing her purse, her passport, and her bulky backpack.
Her loss is the gain of Dom (Dominique Abel), a homeless man who frequents fancy restaurant dumpsters for food and sleeps in a tent. When Fiona's backpack washes ashore and he finds her clothes and money, he treats himself to a delicious dinner (despite the fact that he is seated right next to the bathroom door which slams into his table each time a patron uses it).
When Dom and Fiona meet, and she discovers he has confiscated her things, these two lonely characters decide to work together to find Martha. The old woman has fled her apartment to avoid the nurse who wants to take her to a nursing home. So now she is homeless too.
Dominique Abel and Fiona Gordon have written and directed Lost in Paris as a far-out romantic comedy. The two most enchanting scenes in the film revolve around dancing. In the first Dom drags the reluctant Fiona out on the dance floor at a restaurant where they do a tango that is elegant, beautiful, and graceful with its precision and its passion. Later, Martha and her former partner meet in a park and while seated on a bench, let their feet perform an old dance they once did together.
These two scenes alone make Lost in Paris an excursion well-worth experiencing! Here are some spiritual tips we gleaned from the film about moving with grace through life.
1. Put the needs and desires of others above those of your own.
2. When you fall down, get up as gracefully as you can.
3. Stay alert to all the possibilities when you embark on a mission of mercy.
4. Savor the joy and beauty of dance in your life.
5. Pay attention and seek out grace where you least expect it.
6. Don't let hard times take away your passion for expressing yourself.
7. Raise a glass, as Lionel Barrymore did in the movie Grand Hotel, "to our magnificent, brief, dangerous life -- and the courage to live it."