Parisienne

The new film from Lebanese director Danielle Arbid follows a young Arab immigrant in Paris, whose encounters with three men reveal different facets of her new country, and of herself.

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  • ★★★★ review by Wagner Demetrius on Letterboxd

    PARISIAN HONEY

    Após ser assediada pelo tio, uma estudante libanesa foge da casa onde era hóspede e resolve se virar sozinha em Paris. Se você conhece o gênero, já sabe: ela vai passar necessidades, fazer amigos e desafetos, se envolver com os homens "certos" e os "errados". Mas questão aqui não é a história e sim forma como é contada, a trajetória tem algo de autobiografia e ainda toca (sem se aprofundar) na situação sócio-política da França nos 90's.

    Dirgido por Danielle Arbib com um olhar íntimo e sem afetações, 'Peur de Rien' é um filme sensível e maduro sobre mais uma jovem em busca de si mesma.

  • ★★★★ review by Milo on Letterboxd

    Film 13 out of 52 Films By Women

    The second French film that I watched on Mubi since I subscribed to its service, Parisienne is a coming of age story that follows a 19 year old emigrant Lina who is attending University in Paris and explores her encounters with three different men over the course of the movie. It's beautifully shot and features an excellent performance from Manal Issa, who is certainly an actress to watch and I'll be keeping an eye out for Nocturama, the other film that she's in that's logged on Letterboxd to watch in the future, because I was really impressed by her acting here.

    The film feels real with a great character study and portrayal of Lina, also making use of a pretty good soundtrack to boot. The film itself may not be a classic but it's certainly something that shouldn't be overloooked, particularly if you have a Mubi (at least the UK site) subscription as it was something that like Ogres I would not have heard of otherwise and watched it on a whim and I'm very glad that I did. Danielle Arbid's directing is strong for the most part as well and the film really makes use of Paris as a setting effectively, as the city almost feels like a character in its own right.

    So if you're looking for a good coming of age story with a great performance from its lead then Parisienne is worth a try. I'm definitely going to be watching a lot more French movies in the near future after these two as well - Breathless, Napoleon and more spring to mind for example as classics I haven't had the chance to watch yet, but for now this one at least certainly leaves a good impression.

  • ★★★½ review by Ewan on Letterboxd

    I love films about immigrant experiences, as they render tangible how a person encounters another society and negotiates their place within it (a feeling that I can relate to, in however limited a way) -- and the outside perspective can provide real insights into the society under discussion, in this film no less.

    Parisienne (or 'fear of nothing' in its French title) is about Lina, transplanted from Beirut to Paris in 1993, dealing with a harsh family situation and throwing herself into her studies, not to mention a succession of kinda interchangeable boyfriends. Actually, I do really like the way the director Danielle Arbid sets up these unequal relationships of power -- from early scenes in which her uncle is hitting on her, to these entitled, slightly older, white guys, most of them well meaning, but just unrelenting in their insistence; there's a sublimated violence to their advances that's nicely brought out (I don't know whether on purpose but it seemed to be there).

    Anyway, it's meandering in style, and the camera is given to wandering off too. If there's no real message exactly, then that feels of a piece with the storytelling -- Lina is a young woman still forming her ideas (she even falls in with some skinheaded neo-Nazis at one point), so it's a film about finding strength and seeking identity.

  • ★★★★ review by Jessica James on Letterboxd

    Danielle Arbid's portrait of Lina, a Lebanese immigrant (Manal Issa) in 1990s Paris is both an effective look at the complexities of immigration and a showcase for Issa's star quality. Lina struggles to find a place within France, being both driven to succeed on her university course and variously manipulated and drawn into an older man's affairs and different political groups.

    Lina's resilience in the face of domestic abuse, racism and the bureaucracy of the French immigration system makes hers an inspiring story. Arbid also positions Parisienne as a period piece that doesn't excessively rely on 1990s pop culture for energy (although an appearance by Frank Black of the Pixies is welcome).

    Indeed, shifting the time period away from the present makes Parisienne's story all the more timely, highlighting a time where debates over immigration were less intense but still a constant tension in French life. Parisienne similarly gives Issa a great platform to show her range and screen presence, suggesting a bright future for the actor.

  • ★★★½ review by David Nguyen on Letterboxd

    What starts out as a likeable Parisian coming-of-age story takes on a new dimension when it gracefully weaves in the racial and political tensions of its mid-90s French milieu. To her credit, director Danielle Arbid uses the film's politics as a kind of background noise that permeates the central plot rather than overwhelms it, and when a sudden detour to Lebanon arrives late in the film, her real aim — to humbly humanise the stories of immigrants without romanticising their dreams or struggles — becomes fully apparent.

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