The Girl from Paris

Carion has picked a subject close to his heart for his first feature, a realist romance set on a mountain farm in the French Alps. Fuming in the a Paris traffic jam, 30-year-old computer employee Sandrine (Seigner) shares a dream common to many, of leaving the city to work her land. The owner of the remote goat farm she buys, elderly curmudgeon Adrien (Serrault), is as contemptuous of her prospects of success as her mother. But the practical, innovative way she sets about her task using her skills to advertise her diversification into seasonal tourism makes him pause. Could she indeed be made of the right stuff? Granted, the drama explores an intriguing subject. True, too, that careful direction, unfussy performances and a feel for the milieu provide evocative insights into the pleasures and pains of so ambitious an endeavour. On a facile level, it offers an engaging, almost hard-edged depiction of Sandrine's efforts at renewal and self-fulfilment. Where the film falls down is in the triviality of a script that plays out a conventional and predictable May-December relationship and sidesteps whatever feminist implications the story holds.

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