6 May 2012

Julie Delpy’s ‘2 Days in New York’

Julie Delpy’s career as a cinema actress began in 1973 at the age of 14. But major recognition first came in her thirties when she was given the main role in White, the second of Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Three Colours trilogy. Soon after she was one of the two principals in the much-liked Before Sunrise (1995) directed by Richard Linklater and set in Vienna. Nearly a decade later, its less acclaimed sequel, set this time in Paris, brought the same two characters, older and perhaps wiser, together in Before Sunset. Delpy had by this time moved on to screenwriting and directing (she was a co-writer on Sunset) and went on to write, direct and act in 2 Days in Paris which appeared in 2007. Delpy holds both French and US nationality, so a comedy about a US-based couple, she being French and he (Adam Goldberg) American, encountering Paris, France and her ever-so-French family (Dupy’s actor father Albert plays her screen father) would seem to suit.

Now Delpy has written (screenplay and music), directed and acted in another sequel, 2 Days in New York. Her character has moved on to a new relationship (Chris Rock) back in New York and it’s the visit of her family with their funny French ways again that drives the plot, such as it is. If you think that the French are obsessed with sex, sausage, cheese and red wine, that 70-year old soixante-huitards commit acts of criminal damage in the street, that Frenchwomen expose their nipples in the gym and that claiming to have brain cancer is comic, this is a film for you. You probably won’t mind the thrown away plotlines, a New York apartment of Tardis-like dimensions, Rock's bizarre monologues with a life-size cardboard cut-out of Barack Obama and the unresolved cliff-hanger.

2 Days in New York is paradoxical in that the characters speak in French and English in roughly equal amounts, but to which market is it meant to appeal? The French audience doesn’t mind sous-titres but won’t like the way their compatriots are depicted. The mainstream anglophone audience in the US won’t accept subtitles, but the humour is too unsophisticated for the art house crowd – Woody Allen it ain’t.


A peace offering to any aggrieved Delpy fans who have read this far - you will enjoy this article about her in the Guardian.

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