Paris, 13th District
[Les Olympiades], directed by Jacques Audiard, France 2021, 105'
The film is set among the skyscrapers and esplanades of a Parisian block housing estate, the local Chinatown. Against the backdrop of the austere, brutalist architecture, the feelings of the young protagonists seem particularly fragile and vulnerable. Emilie (Lucie Zhang) falls in love with her roommate Camille (Makita Samba). He takes up an erotic game but guards himself from feelings, until he meets Nora (Noémie Merlant), who, however, is obsessed with Amber (Jehnny Beth), a mysterious sex cam worker. Jacques Audiard intricately tangles the paths of his characters, glues and takes them off the screens and, with incredible freshness and sharp humour, creates a portrait of modern lovers: boldly opening their bedroom doors but keeping their hearts under lock and key.
Perfectly capturing the rhythm of big-city life, seductive, full of tenderness and empathy towards the protagonists, Paris, 13th District is another work by the creator of the Palme d’Or-winning Dheepan and the Grand Prix-winning A Prophet, which was received with enthusiasm at Cannes. The film is a screen adaptation of the comic book hit Killing and Dying by Adrian Tomine, and the screenplay is co-written by the star of French cinema, Céline Sciamma, director of Portrait of a Lady on Fire and Petite Maman.
- Telling the story of love and sex in the big city, Audiard has created a fascinating portrait of a contemporary metropolis: multi-ethnic, multilingual, enmeshed in a network of countless connections and bringing endless communication problems every day.