Sunday, June 12, 2011

Mayrig's Paradis

I usually do not like watching old color films that have this old-ish feeling and people dress funny, even though it might be a great movie. And not very fond of non English films that look like that when I haven't heard of the name of the movie. So I usually avoid MGM as a channel.

Yet, one day I found myself randomly browsing past the channel when I paused for a second. A handsome man grayed at the temples was deep in thought. He remembered a small incident in his childhood when he was invited to a tea party at his friend Alexander's house. Alexander was not his friend, and was very rich, while this little boy was not very well to do. He did not know though why he was invited. When the day arrived when he should be taken to the palace of a house, his family struggles hard to make him presentable. His mother waits outside the house while he goes in and gets humiliated before coming back to her. Never did he let her know that he was humiliated.

The scene was played out so beautifully that I went on to see the rest of the movie without missing a scene after. It's a French film by the name of 588 rue Paradis. Since the wiki page does not have any detail I shall give a brief of the plot.

This little boy was Armenian and his family migrated to Marseille, France to escape the genocide. His mother or Mayrig struggled very hard as a seamstress to bring him. He grew up to be a famous playwright but not before he moved to Paris and changed his name from Azad Zacharian to Pierre Zacharia to sound more French. He married a French publisher and lived a rich lavish life with his daughter and son whose second name was Zacharia. The movie is about bringing to him to terms with the fact that he is indeed an Armenian. He remembers little events from his childhood, meets his father who suffers an attack due to the distance between his son and the family making Azad feel accountable. He then dedicates himself to providing his mother with a wonderful life. He changes his name back. His children begin to identify themselves as being Armenian and his French wife leaves him. He then dedicates more of himself to Armenian culture and fulfilling Mayrig's dream of restoring the family to the their prior glory Turkey before they fled Turkey. Hence, he buys her a place of a house on the same street and bigger than that of Alexander's. The address of the house is 588 Rue Paradis.

The character Mayrig and her husband acted so beautifully, I think that made all the difference. Sadly though, I felt that his French wife was shown in bad light unfairly. She reacted how almost any wife would have reacted when her husband paid more attention to his mother. It did not seem that she had much of a problem with the Armenian culture. or may be it was just bad direction/acting of the character. Nevertheless, a beautiful beautiful movie.

Apparently, this movie is a sequel to Mayrig which talks about the migration and the struggle. Also, both the films are semi-autobiographical in nature, Azad Zacharian being Ashod Malakian which was later changed to Henri Verneuil to sound French.

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