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‘Une Estonienne a Paris’

by Kaori Shoji

Jeanne Moreau was a French superstar back in the day, but decades later, the now-octogenarian’s on-screen presence continues to be defined by a haze of ennui and ambivalence that she wraps around herself like a delicate shawl. Moreau’s appearance in “Une Estonienne a Paris” showcases her charms to full effect.

Une Estonienne a Paris (Croissant de Choshokuo)
Rating

This story of an Estonian woman, Anne (Laine Magi), who leaves her hometown and family to live in Paris reveals a fragment of almost-forgotten Eastern Bloc history. When the Soviets invaded Estonia and the Baltic States in 1940, droves of refugees fled to Paris. Frida (Moreau) is one of the fortunately wealthy who settles in and chooses assimilation as a way of life. Anne belongs to the populace that stay in Estonia and she does her diligent best to build a life as a housewife and mother, but feels suffocated by ex-Iron Curtain depression and a family who takes her for granted.

Severing ties to her homeland, Anne takes a job as Frida’s maid/companion. Frida’s not interested in Anne though — all she wants is the attention of her much younger ex-lover, who, it turns out, is only waiting for her to die. An elegant and bittersweet portrayal of loneliness in old age, accelerated by latent exile blues.