French Film: Crazy on a Bad Day

The film Just a Sigh portrays the fine line between stalking and being adventuresome.

The film ‘Just a Sigh’ portrays the fine line between stalking and being adventuresome.The film Just a Sigh portrays the fine line between stalking and being adventuresome.

Given that adventuring is all about random encounters, romance, and a little bit of train travel, the film Just a Sigh (2013) provides just the right amount of escapism for anyone contemplating Paris or pursuit of a whim. Emmanuelle Devos, playing a broke actress seeking work in Paris, is having a bit of a bad day. In between auditions, attempts to reach her less-than-responsive man, and efforts to scrape up enough money for coffee and train fare, she encounters Gabriel Byrne, whose character is on his way to the Sainte-Clotilde Basilica. Devos changes her plans and follows him there. Then she follows him repeatedly throughout the day.

This isn’t Before Sunrise (1995); it’s not peopled with carefree twenty-somethings Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy with few responsibilities able to pursue any adventure that presents itself. Just a Sigh contains just the right amount of female aggression, of real-life frustrations, of slightly off-kilter encounters. What’s off balance to one could be a middle-aged random encounter to another.

This is a charming film, with a much better French title—Le temps de l’aventure—and a bit of a French aesthetic. Could we really see this happening in New York? Only in France.

Will the artist tired of being broke end up with the artist who didn’t pursue his art? Will they be friends for more than one day? Watch and revel.

—Lori Tripoli

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