Well, this one’s a peculiarity. Canadian Fiona Gordon and Belgian Dominique Abel met at the Lecoq theatre school in Paris then, inspired by the masters of silent comedy, started working together. Three decades and a few films later they have birthed ‘Lost in Paris’, 83 minutes of whimsical slapstick which will, depending on your mood, delight you or have you clawing the walls.
Gordon plays Fiona, a Canadian librarian who is sent a letter from her French aunt begging her to come and rescue her from slow death in a nursing home. Fiona pops off to Paris to find her, and everything goes wrong from the start: it’s a smorgasbord of pratfalls, and soon she’s fallen into the Seine. She quickly bumps into Dom (Abel), a homeless scamp who just loves life and is determined to drag everybody else up with him.
Gordon and Abel are phenomenal physical performers, highly capable clowns who often seem to defy physics. It’s as much OK Go as it is Michel Gondry – everything’s a prop, a stunt, a routine, everyone a Chaplin, a Keaton, a Tati. It aims for delightful and often is, certainly paying off by the end, when the endless contrivances come together to finally warm the heart.
Along the way, though, it is as infuriating as it is inventive, as it Just. Never. Stops. It is Quirkfest 2017. It is Paris Through the Looking Glass. But it’s certainly pure of vision, an ambitious accomplishment, and undeniably sweet.