Place des Fêtes – Oliver Schmitz
In South African filmmaker Oliver Schmitz’s "Place des Fêtes", a povertous musician dying on a street corner meets the great love of his life. Easily one of "Paris Je T'aime"'s most tragic short tales, Schmitz's unfulfilled love story spoke to me as one of the best films of "Paris Je T'aime", perhaps even one of the greatest short films I'd seen yet.
We begin on the engraved walls of the obelisk outside of the titular Place des Fêtes. As the camera moves downward, we come upon the fatigued face of our strangely well-dressed protagonist, Hassan. As he stares up at the clouds and buildings around him, a girl comes running up to him. When he notices who she is, he is dumbstruck, confused. He places a hand on her face, but she quickly pushes it away. Undeterred, he tries to make conversation, talking about how he got bitten by a mosquito, how the neighborhoods aren't safe, how his home country is much safer. When he finally coaxes her name out of her, Sophie, he asks her out for coffee. Though she answers his questions, she is preoccupied with something in front of Hassan, something just out of view of the camera. Hassan eventually asks to massage her feet. Naturally, a little freaked out, she asks why, to which Hassan utters a cheesy pick up line: "you've been running through my mind all day". Sophie smiles, still a little put off. Only during this silence do we finally see what they are doing: Hassan is injured, with Sophie the paramedic treating him. Again, Hassan asks her to go out with him to get coffee, to which she finally complies, asking her colleague to bring them both cups. As her colleague complies, Hassan winces from the pain, and the film flashes back, for a split second, to earlier, when Hassan was injured searching for help. Seeing the end coming, Hassan turns back to Sophie, asks her if she remembers him. But she doesn't, and so to jog her memory, Hassan begins to sing a song. The song causes the film to flash...
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