The art of the cinema clown has its roots in the role played by court jesters in Medieval history. In the silent era, they were the biggest names in film. Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Laurel & Hardy wowed and amazed audiences with their wit, physical acting and daring escapades. Whilst the tradition has continued, with notable work from the masterly Jacques Tati along the way, it’s a rare sight in modern cinema. However, two of the best ‘clowns’ working today are Dominique Abel and Fiona Gordon. They write, direct and star in their latest film, the charming Lost in Paris.
When Fiona (Gordon), a librarian in a small Canadian town, receives a plea for help from her Aunt Martha (Emmanuelle Riva) in Paris, she jumps on the next plane. However, when Fiona arrives she can’t find her aunt anywhere and manages to lose all her belongings. Desperate, she’s at her wits end, until she stumbles upon Dom (Abel), a homeless man who just happens to have her things. He falls for Fiona and is determined to help.
Lost in Paris is a whimsical take on love in a city painted as friendly, fanciful and full of wonder. Abel and Gordon once again demonstrate their ability and dexterity as physical comedians, but the most impressive aspect is their writing. Whilst occasionally it can become repetitive, there’s so much invention and cleverness in the script. It’s also hilarious at times. Lost in Paris is an oddity in modern film-making, but cinema is all the better for it.
Lost in Paris in out in cinemas from 24 November.