‘A bookstore in Paris’: a prim corner to dream | Culture

The charm for the cinema of the bookstores. And even more, the charm of Paris. A corner to dream in a dream city. Intellectualism, sentimentality, aestheticism. Maybe too many isms in one movie: A bookstore in Paris Seventh feature film directed by the actor Sergio Castellitto, it is known (or believed) captivating for the seeker of bohemia, sweetness, romance and literature. However, it goes over braking. Excessive cups of the same broth, especially because in none of the artistic sections is there measure with respect to its possible expressiveness.

The “old fossil of books in the digital age”, the owner of the bookstore, seems more of a reactionary than a classic humanist. The woman who one day intrudes into your store looking for her lost puppy, with the extraordinary beauty of Bérénice Bejo, could be unique and very nice, but her extravagance becomes a bit burdensome. The image, fanciful because it was not shot in Paris, but in the legendary Cinecittá studios, aims to envelop the film with an aura of fairytale and unreality, although it is one step away from being more artificial than magical. Little or nothing has just worked, because even famous quotes, brilliant as their authors, declaim themselves with the enchantment of the one who wants to epate and not share. And even the mystery of the paraplegic daughter seems detached from the main romance between the bookseller with the sad grimace and the actress with the festive laugh.

That the original story is by Ettore Scola is almost a surprise, because it does not smell like the truly intellectual daily life of the wonderful Italian director and screenwriter. You may have made too many laps on your way to the screen. The screenplay treatment once written by Scola, his daughter Silvia, and Furio Scarpelli was later turned into a graphic novel titled A dragon in the shape of a cloud, drawn with watercolors by Ivo Milazzo, and published in 2014, two years before the death of the director of A particular day. And now that whole story, without a trace of the pastel style of the book, has been reworked by Margaret Mazzantini, Castellitto’s wife and his regular screenwriter.

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novels like The foam of the days, White nights, The thirty-three names of God Y Madame Bovary they are explicitly cited or appear physically during the story. Although only his letter, never his true spirit. Don’t move, Reborn, Fortunata Y A bookstore in Paris Castellitto’s four titles released in Spain offer enough clues to confirm that he is a much more interesting artist in interpretation than in directing. And perhaps the original Italian title of the film ends up saying it all: Il materiale emotivo (The emotional material). Too many airs of shock from the first moment, when the curtains are opened, in the manner of the theaters, to give way to a syrupy and presumptuous film.


Direction: Sergio Castellitto.

Interpreters: Sergio Castellitto, Bérénice Bejo, Matilda De Angelis, Sandra Milo.

Gender: drama. Italy, 2021.

Duration: 89 minutes.

Premiere: December 17.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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