A vacation in Paris requires means and opportunity, and both are in short supply at this point in the recession and the summer. What to do? You could get all melancholy with a glass of Burgundy and that five-year-old slideshow of your trip with whats-his-name. But better to revel in the time-honored practice of living vicariously through the movies. The series 20 Films in Paris illuminates every facet of that city's personality, from haughty doyenne to free-spirited flirt to multiculti mystery. Matthieu Kassovitz 1995 maelstrom, La Haine (June 26), a hurtling saga of three young and angry down-and-outers, offers an insiders view devoid of postcard shots and perfume. A different kind of drama unfolds on June 27, when Julie Delpy brings jealous boyfriend Adam Goldberg home to meet her parents in the inviting but talky Two Days in Paris, and upscale genre director Luc Besson cooks up a desperate love affair between two near-suicides in the lushly stylized Angel-A. Billy Wilders 1963 romp, Irma La Douce (June 29), reunites Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine as a cop and a prostitute, respectively. Like so many films set in the City of Light, its a celebration of beautiful people, improbable love and bittersweet fantasy.
June 17-July 1, 2009