With the title 2 Days in Paris, Julie Delpy’s film sounds like another lovely romance. Instead, it’s an acerbic, often-crude comedy that’s so harsh on France, senators may toast it with freedom fries (for David Edelstein’s take, click here). Delpy spoke with Logan Hill.
Your movie’s kind of anti-Paris.
There are too many romantic films about Paris—even the film I did, Before Sunset. It’s a beautiful city, but you’re walking down a beautiful street in Sacré Coeur and then on the next corner there are like twenty prostitutes. You have to be as tough to live in Paris as you have to be to live in New York.
Which is tougher?
Maybe Paris. There’s something about the amount of everyday confrontation. It’s less with guns and shit, but there’s more verbal confrontation at all times. In New York, I don’t have arguments with taxi drivers. Parisian drivers will get political with you. Or they’ll yell at a woman driving, “Ah, she drives like a cunt.” And I’m like, “I’m a woman!” And we get into it.
I heard producers asked you to cut a scene. I’m guessing it’s the one in which you make “Heil Hitler” gestures and sing “Welcome to Paris!” while arguing with a racist, chauvinist cabdriver.
Yes! I couldn’t take it out! I told the producers there’s just no way. “Fine, you don’t want to release the film. Fine.”
Adam Goldberg plays a kind of urbane New Yorker who hates Paris.
For European audiences, I didn’t want to have the typical kind of American, a cowboy. Instead, he’s an intellectual, he wants to look like Jean Godard. But then he’s faced with the reality of Paris, which is not necessarily all intellectuals. Every guy he meets talks about pussy.
You love a good sex joke, don’t you?
That’s just my mind—all this great, dirty sex stuff. I constantly talk about sex and make dirty jokes. I think I inherited it from my father, who’s also bad.
He talks about penises in the film. So he got you started?
I was telling dirty sex jokes when I was 9. It was kind of weird. But not in an unhealthy way. I’m not a pervert or anything. Well, not in a bad way. Telling dirty sex jokes doesn’t make you a slut. I’m kind of the opposite, actually. I’m very romantic. I suffer tremendously for love.
I’m directing a drama, The Countess, and the film after that is a comedy I’ve co-written called World Wars and Other Fun Stuff to Watch on the Evening News.
Where is that movie set?
A fantasy country where all the bad people are: Pakichinruskan, which is at the border of Afghanistan, Cuba, and Korea. People are scared to finance the movie. Most comedies, they don’t go all the way. The film I wrote, it goes all the way.