Three months after surviving a terror attack in a Paris bistro, translator Mia retraces her steps in an effort to disentangle her fragmented memories of that traumatic night in Alice Winocur’s incisive portrait of survival.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2023
In a performance that earned her the César Best Actress Award, Virginie Efira (Benedetta, Sibyl) plays Russian translator Mia as she attempts to piece together the night she survived a terror attack in a Paris bistro three months earlier. Retracing the events of that night, Mia speaks to other survivors and revisits the scene in an effort to disentangle her fractured memories. Her former life begins to unravel as she shuts out her husband Vincent (Grégoire Colin) and grows closer with injured Thomas (Benoît Magimel) and daughter of a killed couple, Félicia (Nastya Golubeva Carax), all the while struggling to track down the cook she hazily remembers hiding with during the attack.
Paris Memories was written and directed by Alice Winocour whose previous films have similarly concerned post-traumatic stress, including Augustine, Disorder, Proxima and co-writing the screenplay for Oscar-nominated drama Mustang. Drawing on her younger brother’s experiences as a survivor of the November 2015 Paris Bataclan attacks that killed more than 130 people, Winocour sensitively portrays the disorienting fragmentation of memory that follows a traumatic event and the way shock can continue to reverberate throughout a lifetime. – Amanda Jane Robinson
“Paris Memories is a mystery movie, with Mia, like Guy Pearce’s character in Memento, following various leads and fractured memories to get to the truth. It’s also a story of emotional renewal, chronicling the phases of recovery that follow in the wake of a major catastrophe, with all the ups and downs that entails.” — Jordan Mintzer, Hollywood Reporter