L’ Arrêt Du Temps (The Pause of Time)
7 Jun 2022
Iro Gkoulitou, Yioryis Partalidis, Anastasia Delta
The romantic heart of Paris has sparkled on screens as long as reels have spun in cinemas. Whether these interpretations accurately represent the reality of the city, or are a fantastical idealisation of a monolithic modern metropolis like any other is up for debate. What is not, is the inspiration that artists have found there for generations. L'Arrêt Du Temps (The Pause of Time), shows how dreams can be invigorated by the city’s indescribable atmosphere.
Former lovers and Paris residents Anna (Iro Gkoulitou) and Jean-Luc (Yioryis Partalidis) convene many years after their break-up in a café. Anna had left the city after becoming disillusioned with her dancing career, whilst Jean-Luc gave up dreams of becoming a writer to pursue law. Lack of accomplishment and fulfilment haunt the pair. Yet a chance encounter with an unnamed stranger (Anastasia Delta) has the potential to change their lives forever.
There is a distinct and unsurprisingly French feel to L'Arrêt Du Temps, which is a love letter to Paris and its ability to incubate dreams much in the same way that La La Land is to Los Angeles. Presented in French and in vintage monochrome, the short weaves the story of two former lovers with the essence of the city of light – and how inspiration and dreams should play their own role in one’s destiny as much as love does. The small café in which the film is largely set expands beyond its own boundaries to marinate the film in ex-lovers’ former Parisian lifestyle, bringing the city’s history and modernity together in a timeless purgatory.
A simple yet intriguing story is told effectively in the short runtime, featuring sophisticated characters who are developed naturally by a fantastic script. Both Anna and Jean-Luc’s history together, as well as their wider background, emerge authentically to tell their parallel stories – with enough familiarity, understanding and chemistry between them encouraging audiences to root for their rebuilding whilst also conjuring enough respect for their independence and desires to create confident in their strength as individuals. The result is two characters filled with depth, who each stand at a multidirectional crossroads in their lives – with viewers engrossed in which path they will take.
Iro Gkoulitou shines as Anna, an ambitious and driven dreamer who has found herself lost after a crisis of confidence and loss of a relationship. Gkoulitou is simultaneously confident and vulnerable, and the duality at the centre of her performance indirectly explains that her return to her old city, to meet her old boyfriend is a quest for answers and direction. Yioryis Partalidis’ Jean-Luc is just a dial or two below the classic French cool that the character seems to yearn for, but the care and empathy Partalidis brings makes him an inspiring modern ex-boyfriend. Sensual moments between the two show audiences that there is much more to their meeting than a catch-up – and that these are not exclusively romantic is where the short’s brilliance lies.
Steering strongly into the romantic heart of Paris and its ability to inspire, L'Arrêt Du Temps proves that there must be some special essence that follows former Parisians wherever they go.
Watch the Official Trailer for the film here.
Or watch Patrick Foley provide his review on our YouTube channel in the video below!