Friday, November 09, 2012

2 Days In New York

2 päivää New Yorkissa / 2 dagar i New York. DE/FR/BE © 2012 Polaris Films, Senator Film Produktion, Saga Film, Tempête Sous un Crâne, Alvy Productions, In Production, TDY Filmproduktion, BNP Paribas Fortis Film Fund [exact list tbc]. P: Scott Franklin, Ulf Israel, Christophe Mazodier, Jean-Jacques Neira, Hubert Toint. D: Julie Delpy. SC: Julie Delpy, Alexia Landeau - story: Alexia Landeau, Alexandre Nahon - add. dialogue: Alexandre Nahon. DP: Lubomir Bakchev - Camera: Arri Alexa, Zeiss Ultra Prime Lenses - Source format: Codex - Cinematographic process: ARRIRAW (source format), Digital Intermediate (2K) (master format) - Printed film format: 35 mm (spherical), D-Cinema DCP - Aspect ratio: 1.85:1. PD: Judy Rhee. AD: Charles Kulsziski. Set dec: Shelley Barclay. Cost: Rebecca Hofherr. Makeup: Julia Lallas. VFX: Cédric Fayolle. Songs written and sung by Julie Delpy. S: Gert Janssen. ED: Julie Brenta, Isabelle Devinck. Casting: Jessica Kelly, Suzanne Smith. C: Chris Rock (Mingus), Julie Delpy (Marion), Albert Delpy (Jeannot), Alexia Landeau (Rose), Alexandre Nahon (Manu), Kate Burton (Bella), Dylan Baker (Ron), Daniel Brühl (The Oak Fairy), Talen Ruth Riley (Willow), Owen Shipman (Lulu), Malinda Williams (Elizabeth), Carmen Lopez (Julia), Emily Wagner (Susan), Arthur French (Lee Robinson), Petronia Paley (Carol Robinson), Alex Manette (John Kelly), Vincent Gallo (Vincent Gallo). Bilingual: in English and in French. 95 min. Released by Cinema Mondo with Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Outi Kainulainen / Markus Karjalainen. 2K DCP viewed at Tennispalatsi 8, Helsinki, 9 Nov 2012 (day of Finnish premiere).

Official synopsis (Magnolia Pictures): "Marion and Mingus live cozily—perhaps too cozily—with their cat and two young children from previous relationships. However, when Marion’s jolly father (played by director Delpy’s real-life dad), her oversexed sister, and her sister’s outrageous boyfriend unceremoniously descend upon them for a visit, it initiates two unforgettable days that will test Marion and Mingus’s relationship. With their unwitting racism and sexual frankness, the French triumvirate hilariously has no boundaries or filters... and no person is left unscathed in its wake."

"Directed and cowritten by Delpy, 2 Days in New York is a deliciously witty romp. One of the pleasures of this follow-up film to 2 Days in Paris is the addition of Chris Rock, who—amid the Gallic mayhem—convincingly plays the straight man as Marion’s hipster American boyfriend. With great skill and energy, Delpy heightens cultural differences to comedic extremes but also manages to show that sometimes change is the best solution to a relationship that’s been pushed to its limit." (official synopsis)

Two Finnish expressions occurred to me while watching 2 Days In New York: Perhe on pahin [The Family Is the Worst], the Finnish title for the sitcom All In the Family - and Hullunkuriset perheet [Zany Families], the Finnish title for the children's playing card set Happy Families.

The blended family of Marion and Mingus represent "the straight ones" in this New York comedy in which the guests from Paris - father Jeannot, sister Rose, her boyfriend Manu - are the wild force, enfants et parents terribles, who break all the rules. But also Marion is a walking catastrophe in her dealings with key contactpeople in the art gallery where she opens her photo exhibition, an intimate chronicle, a reflection of herself and her ex-boyfriend in bed under the sheets. The most striking feature in her exhibition is that not only has she offered these large photographs of her private life for sale but she has also offered her soul for sale for the highest bidder. The price, it turns out, is 5000 dollars. She even meets the buyer (Vincent Gallo!) because she wants her soul back, but Vincent Gallo, instead, would like to get the instruction manual.  For the confused Marion the action has been "a conceptual statement".

Memorable features: - The rampage of the terrible Frenchmen in New York, exceeding all stereotypes. - The blitz montages. - The Halloween theme and the death drive in the little black girl. - The creepy art critic John Kelly: "I like the theme more than the execution". - The neighbours are led to believe that Marion is mortally ill with brain tumour, and they buy all the photographs in the exhibition because "they'll be worth a fortune soon". - The Thai masseurs who are actually Vietnamese. Marion's father was born in French Indochina, in the same village, it turns out, as the masseurs. - In the conclusion Marion saves a pigeon from protective metal wiring in Central Park, and its flight to the sky puts things into a new perspective. - Mingus's dialogues with a cardboard Obama are a running feature. In the conclusion Marion and Mingus have a little Obama (albeit a girl) of their own, and Marion presents her a hand puppet show of her parents' love story.

The most memorable condensation of the movie is Mingus's remark to Marion: "ever since your family came you are a different person". He even considers whether Marion is a "psycho bitch". Not.

No problem with the visual quality. Almost all footage is of built space, interiors, street views, close-ups or medium shots. In Central Park the nature is glimpsed only very quickly or it is out of focus, and we get just a general impression of the autumn colours.

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