It certainly won’t be appreciated nor seen by everyone.
Paris 60 is a very strange film. It certainly doesn’t seem to have much in the way of commercial appeal and I cannot imagine most viewers even watching the film in the first place. However, despite being a film with limited appeal, it sure speaks volumes about the writer and director, Tony Ukpo. It’s obvious that he’s seen a lot of French films from the 1960s and the film is an obvious homage to the New Wave pictures by the likes of Godard and particularly Resnais. So, to fully appreciate Ukpo’s film, you need to be familiar with these other films. Heck, even most French people today probably aren’t that familiar with these films!
Paris 60 is like a documentary about the making of a film merged with the New Wave style. The film is mostly in black & white, the font used for the titles looks right from the 1960s, the camera focusing on irrelevant objects as people talk, the dancing woman during the credits, the way some of the characters talk and act like they would in such a picture and the film does not appear conventional in any way…just like a New Wave film! The self-exploration is pure Resnais as is the Japanese-American lady who talks of the evils of nuclear war and Hiroshima (much like in Resnais’ film Hiroshima Mon Amour). Again and again and again I found myself saying ‘wow…he’s really got the style down in this movie’. Additionally, while similar to a New Wave film, it was interesting that the character of the director looked a lot like Ukpo—and even used his middle name, Sebastian. And, Sebastian began talking as if it was Ukpo himself revealing himself to the audience. It’s all very strange, somewhat surreal and a nice homage to the genre.
To me, the most interesting thing, however, isn’t the style but the fact that the film cost about $170 in US dollars! The film looks so polished and so interesting…and was made for almost nothing. Heck, I’ve seen much larger budgeted films that looked more cheaply made. So, instead of filming in Paris, it was made in London. And, instead of big-name actors and sets, it was done in a very natural setting. I thought it was lovely—and I am sure that other insane film nuts like me will also enjoy it. But, the film is talky, strange and not at all what the average person would watch. I just hope the right people see this and give Mr. Ukpo giant piles of cash so we can see what he can do with it.
By the way, if I sound positive about this film, wait until you read my review of his film The Fighter’s Ballad—now that is something special indeed.
Review by Lead Entertainment Writer & Film Critic, Martin Hafer