In 2013 I sold limited rights to my short film script The Parisienne and it was produced in October-November that year. Re-written as Away by a much credited Television writer, it deviated in tone from the original script idea. A budget exceeding $100k and cast and crew of 54 armed with two Arri Alexas failed to capture the emotional appeal of the my early script.
Originally likened a little to Wim Wender’s Paris Texas, it was languid; it had elements reminiscent of Ray Winstones film Everything or Sophie Cupolas film Lost in Translation. Cinematically it should have been reminiscent of Alexi Uchitels film The Stroll.
There was a substantial a budget for professional actors. A Making Of Documentary was made but hopes for a film good enough to go into international competition were not realised. I learned from the experience, and gained IMDB listing as the a credited Writer and also as a Co-Producer.
A guy in his fifties drops his daughter with his ex-wife for the night so he can go off and have a liaison with a woman he likes. On the way he spots a Pontiac Parisienne triggering memories of his first love back when he was sixteen. By the time the night has passed he has not only remembered his past but repeated it in the present. He picks his daughter up and realises life has to flow on.
A few thoughts on the sub-text:
The point is that life is not a competition – there is no scoreboard marked up with winners and losers. When it ends, it ends equally for all of us. Life is almost like a stream; as long as it flows any other measure that can be applied is a construct of the mind. Is this the sub-text of the film then? Life as a stream of emotional experience that is always in flux? The characters in The Parisienne never arrive at a destination, nothing truly bad happens, nobody is irreparably harmed; it’s a little like The French Lieutenants Woman in that regard. He doesn’t get the girl. He didn’t get her when he was young, he didn’t get her when he was older; he had a marriage that failed but gave him someone to love and to be loved by. He got what he needed but maybe not what he wanted. He is struggling with his needs and living his life with a share of pain, confusion, hope, success, loss, separation, a whole raft of feelings that are not mutually exclusive. We all have feelings, and often several at the same time. Life is a stream, and we all simply swirl in it’s eddy.
The car itself then, the Pontiac Parisienne, is a symbol of freedom and promise, the open road, the lack of constraints, the hope that life will become a fulfilling joyful experience, followed by the reality then that nothing is ever certain.
I’d like to develop the film into a low budget feature; it would cost little more than a short, especially using the Ray Winstone film Everything as a production guide.