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Chinese Puzzle
Year:
2013
Country:
USA, France, Belgium
Genre:
Drama, Romance, Comedy
IMDB rating:
7.0
Director:
Cédric Klapisch
Audrey Tautou as Martine
Jochen Hägele as Hegel et Schopenhauer - les philosophes allemands
Flore Bonaventura as Isabelle de Groote - la babysitter
Pablo Mugnier-Jacob as Tom Rousseau
Amin Djakliou as Lucas
Margaux Mansart as Mia Rousseau
Benoît Jacquot as Monsieur Rousseau - le père de Xavier
Li Jun Li as Nancy
Kelly Reilly as Wendy
Romain Duris as Xavier Rousseau
Peter McRobbie as L'agent bureau immigration
Storyline: Xavier is now forty years old. So are Wendy, Isabelle and Martine. At forty you are supposed to be more mature and live a a steadier life than at twenty. But not Xavier. Well, to be fair, he has made some progress in the field of thoughtfulness (he has even become a writer) but as concerns his everyday life, it is far from well-ordered. To be totally honest it is not entirely Xavier's fault if his wife Wendy has suddenly left him for a new companion in New York and taken their two children with her. Realizing he can't stand living without them, Xavier decides to settle down in Big Apple in order to remain close to them. He finds a home in Chinatown and it does not take long before trouble comes his way.
Type Resolution File Size Codec Bitrate Format
720p 1280x688 px 5588 Mb h264 6662 Kbps mkv Download
HQ DVD-rip 720x390 px 1064 Mb mpeg4 1268 Kbps avi Download
Reviews
Xavier and friends in The Big Apple
As an avowed fan of both The Spanish Apartment (2002) and Russian Dolls (2005), it was with much anticipation that I awaited the arrival of the third film in the series – Chinese Puzzle – into Australian cinemas. Of course, such anticipation can often lead to disappointment, but I am pleased to report that this wasn't the case in this instance, with Chinese Puzzle proving a more than worthy next chapter in the lives of this disparate bunch of characters. Written and directed by Cedric Klapisch, Chinese Puzzle is a truly cosmopolitan film with a predominantly European and Asian cast inhabiting a story set amid the hustle and bustle of contemporary New York. From the moment the opening credit sequence began – comprising images of the various key characters from all three films over a fabulously funky soundtrack – I had a smile on my face.

For those who have seen the previous two films, it is a familiarity with these flawed but utterly likable characters that make the film so enjoyable. The narrative centres on Xavier (Romain Duris) who, at the beginning of the film, is living in France with girlfriend Wendy (Kelly Reilly) and their two kids. However, when Wendy announces that she and the kids are uprooting for a life in New York with new beau John (Peter Hermann), the story kicks into gear. Desperate to remain a part of his children's lives, Xavier follows in hot pursuit and temporarily moves in with lesbian pal Isabelle (Cecile De France), who has also recently relocated to the Big Apple and shares an apartment with her girlfriend Ju (Sandrine Holt). Xavier finds himself in the midst of all manner of predicaments. He needs to find a job and somewhere to live and is under increasing pressure from his Paris-based editor to finish his new novel. Complicating matters further is the fact that Isabelle is pregnant thanks to a sperm donation from Xavier.

In an effort to secure American citizenship, Xavier enters into a marriage with Nancy (Li Jun Li), the niece of a man to whom he lends assistance during a road rage attack. All the while, Xavier is complicit in an affair between Isabelle and a babysitter (also named Isabelle) and, when old flame Martine (a beguiling Audrey Tautou) arrives in town with her two children in tow, it seems as though everything might come crumbling down for our hapless protagonist. There are wonderfully comedic moments galore, along with splashes of sentiment and introspection as Xavier takes stock of his own life and desperately tries to prevent everything from falling apart. Duris is terrific in the lead role, presenting Xavier as desperate yet charming with a genuine affection for the various people in his life. The film has plenty to say about love, friendship and the passing of time. All the main characters have, for the most part, matured both physically and emotionally and the friendships have endured across time and space.

At times, the film seems like a paean to the city of New York as much as anything, with Klapisch showing us parts of the city that are rarely seen in the myriad action films and romantic comedies that emanate from here. Not only do we see this other side of New York, but Klapisch seems to want us to truly appreciate the sights, sounds, energy and idiosyncrasies of the place, all of which add to the charm of the film. Whilst all the lead performances are fine, as you would expect given their familiarity with their characters, those in supporting roles also shine. In particular, both Holt and Li are fabulously understated but effective in their portrayals, while Jason Kravits is funny as Xavier's two-bit lawyer. It is also great to see child characters that are a far cry from the whining, petulant monsters that we typically see in Hollywood productions. Throw in some magic realism by way of fantasy sequences that summon famous European philosophers to impart words of wisdom upon Xavier and you have a thoroughly delightful cinematic experience.

More than anything, it is the various implications and complications of the relationships that make Chinese Puzzle such a treat. Whilst the ending does seemingly wrap things up somewhat neatly, it also leaves open the possibility of more to come from this group and I would certainly welcome an opportunity to spend more time in their company.
2014-05-08
.. it's a New York film... in French
It's a fun movie, with a great cast... don't even think about it, just watch and enjoy. It's mostly a foreign language film, but set mainly in New York City. And it really shows New York in a down to earth style that is real life and appealing. It's the kind of film that shows movie making does not have to be overly complicated and sensational. Just dealing with the real life stories of everyday people can be most enjoyable. There's probably not going to be a large audience for this film, and that's a shame, for most would wholeheartedly enjoy it. When you go to a movie theater in this country, this is not the type of film you are most likely going to the theater to see... but if you did, you'd probably enjoy it a lot more than a majority of the other junk that's on the marquee. And contrary to what she declares, it's always easier for most very beautiful women to be attracted to and 'fall-for' rich good looking men.. (while the ex winds up with poor cute Audrey..and two more kids).
2015-06-25
To be a good father, one must take whatever it costs.
It is the third and final movie of the 'Spanish Apartment' trilogy. The story of a middle aged father and his care for his children make him to pick a challenged life ahead. The initial parts were very slow, I feel you need to be a patience. While progressing, the story development turns to be a gripping. Afterwards it gets bigger with introducing more characters and that makes a widely open story that can travel any direction. That mean definitely not easy to predict the end. I am glad that I saw it and you should not miss this trilogy, one of the best drama-romedy series ever told.

The 40 years old divorced Xavier aim to follow his ex path to the New York to be staying close to his children. He makes it and one of his old friends who has settled in New York helps him to find an apartment. He finds a decent job and having everything going stable, his ex allows to share the his part being a parent. The time and days moving rapidly, the trouble approaches him because his stay is limited as he came on a tourist visa. His trouble doubles and he must overcome soon with a solution. Besides, reuniting with his other old friend and affair are the other side of the tale that uncovers.

''Those tiny initials in the sidewalk held a kind of fundamental proof that my birth wasn't a total accident.''

Once again the director's favorite actor Roman Duris appeared for a wonderful role and he did not disappoint. He is one of my favorites from French films, maybe because I liked most of his movies. His performance was amazing like always and definitely he was the center of attraction in this film. It was about the three things, being a father, immigrant and kind of love rectangle. As he (Roman Duris) was divorced, but being a father of two young children his responsibility is to give them love and care. Especially not to discard them like his father did for him. So he's ready to give up anything in the world. The love rectangle was not exactly a fight over each other. It was cleverly briefed, very modern with the understanding kind of relationship. This is what the movie impresses very much, the shuffled characters with one man at the center.

The last 20-25 minutes was so good, the pace accelerates along the crucial portions which gives thrilling pleasure. My rating varied from the lower to the higher while watching this movie in each section till it went to the last part. So felt keeping calm all the way paid off with a great pleasure. I have seen few French movies of 2013 and this one is one of the best. It was about everything, like, a little meaningful about being a parent, humors, thrill scenes, finding love and affections, friendship. And again, I am saying that it is worth a lot to try at once.
2014-08-25
Disappointing
I've seen this movie yesterday and was disappointed. Especially since I really liked the first and second prequel. I am always turned off by a movie that is badly edited, badly scripted and does not really have a good story to tell. If one keeps close attention one will notice many illogical situations. Not everything needs to be logical in a movie but it is better not that obvious. For example, I encourage everybody to keep a close look for pregnant and non-pregnant women, for the main doors to the houses when children's are picked up and delivered, and for some awful dialog when somebody reveals "something very personal" nobody cares about. There is much more like this. This movie could easily feature as a bad TV soap opera. Just see for yourself. The only thing that kept me in the movie theater were a few scenes that are really funny and some camera work for which movies by Cédric Klapisch are famous for. By the way, the music is excellent.
2014-05-07
Funny, feel good French movie with a bit of a Hollywood romcom touch
* Warning: Spoilers. Also, I went and saw this film without first having seen the trailer. I recommend you not watch the trailer before you see this film if you don't want to know anything. *

First of all, I think the title of the film is genius. Literally, it means Chinese "broken head" which is translated into "Chinese Puzzle", ie it's a puzzle that drives you so crazy it breaks your head. It is obvious they wanted to keep the theme of having an adjective related to a country/culture - Spanish youth hostel, Russian dolls, Chinese puzzle... The only difference is this time no part of the film is set in China. If you google "casse tête chinois" it's one of those wooden puzzles where all the pieces have to fit together in the right way and in the right order.

Xavier (Romain Duris), now 40, says his life is a mess and he wonders how he got to this point, where the pieces are obviously NOT in the right order nor in the right place. He recounts his touching, funny and personal story over the past few years through Skype interviews with his book publisher (he is writing a book based on his life).

I have seen the first two films but it has been so long ago that I cannot remember the story lines. It is not necessary IMHO to have seen them but it would help you have a deeper understanding of the main characters and their development. Fans of either the first two films will be delighted to see the actresses Audrey Tautou, Cécile De France and Kelly Reilly reprise their roles as Martine, Isabelle and Wendy. I felt that maybe the director (Cédric Klapisch) wanted to capitalize on the success and popularity of Audrey Tautou with foreigners by putting her in the film as much as possible.

In the first few minutes of the film the protagonist mentions going from point A to point B in life. What I feel is that life is so easy in your 20s (their ages in the first film) where everybody starts at the same point, at point A. In your 30s people's lives tend to go down different paths, marriages, singledom, divorces, kids or no kids, gay/lesbianism, there is no one set path and nobody can predict what will happen in your life from your late 20s onwards. I guess the film is trying to show that it's OK not to have a 'perfect' life and that there are happy relationships of all different kinds.

Apart from the main topic of romantic relationships, the film also briefly touches on parent-child relationships and features Xavier's children but also his parents in 2 short separate scenes. I don't feel that these scenes would have been missed if taken out but I am glad they were in there because when you get to the age where you have kids or 'should be' having kids you think about your own parents a lot, their relationship with each other and to you. The scene with his father was really sweet but I won't give it away what it was.

And so, Xavier is now married to Wendy (and has been for the past 10 years) and has 2 children with her. Their relationship is on the rocks and one day Wendy announces she has met a new man in New York and wants to move there, immediately, with the children. Xavier, therefore, has no choice but to give up his life in Paris and to join them in New York to stay in regular contact with his young children.

This brings up a whole new set of problems for him such as finding housing, slight language issues, finding a job, how to stay in the country legally for a long period of time... as someone who has moved overseas (several times) I found this aspect highly interesting and it shows the young people these days, are more than ever, globally mobile and willing to overcome hardships and obstacles in an effort to start a new life elsewhere.

There are many new characters and actors introduced into this third film of the trilogy and together they create an interesting patchwork for the plot. There are also many Chinese (Chinese American) characters in this film and Chinatown is featured often too, strengthening the multiple meanings behind the title. There is also a hilarious scene where Audrey speaks Chinese.

I won't go on much further other than to say that it's a much see! 10/10 for me. If you enjoyed the previous two in the series, or enjoy films that you can really relate to, full of funny, sweet and poignant moments, this is definitely one not to miss.
2013-12-11
Romaine Holiday
Because of his involvement with Un Air de famille - he directed a great screenplay by Agnes Jaoui and Jean-Pierre Bacri - I'm prepared to overlook any flawed movies by Cedric Klapish so that despite an aversion to Romaine Duris I did, in fact, see both L'Auberge Espagnol and Les Poupees Russe, both of which feature a melange of characters at different (2002, 2005) times in their lives, and I didn't really care for either of them. This third outing reunites Duris with Audrey Tautao, Cecile de France and Kelly Reilly, all now more or less forty years old and maybe I'm mellowing but I actually enjoyed it in the main, even Duris is less swaggering and acting like God's gift as is his usual wont. This isn't the same as saying that I'll rush out and buy the DVD the minute it appears in the shops but it is a pleasant and fairly harmless diversion.
2014-06-20
A witty charmer of a movie
Your partner leaves you after she found new love in a far away land. You want to be close to your children so you relocate and become prepared to take any crappy job and live in any type of shithole in order to get by. Sounds complicated?

In case the above is not an intricate enough, you become a sperm donor to help a same sex couple have a child.

In the midst of all this, an old flame comes into town but how can you think about romance? Then again why not? After all, our character does not lead a complicated life, he just...lives.

Incredibly witty with a mixture of European/American sense of humour, it provides a refreshing angle to life itself and how it keeps going with its ups and downs.
2014-07-10
Growing up and moving away
Going to new places, especially when you are a bit older and are more likely to have settled down elsewhere, is difficult. About those difficulties, finding oneself and others (and love and work and ...) ... this is what this movie is about. It's mature in its thinking and might not be the entertainment some seek. But for what it is (and for the actors it has in it), it's really good.

It's not that much happens, but that is life (mostly, unless you are a special agent or whatnot). There is also nudity and god forbid intercourse. But there is also comedy and "betrayal" and situations you might encounter in life. And decisions ... decisions and more decisions! What is there in the end?
2014-09-20
Very optimistic story
The main characters in the story live fairly hectic lives, punctuated by small incidents that seem serious at first moment, but turn out to be overcome in a second moment. They never lose the enthusiasm to face the challenges that arise along the way. Xavier is a guy at the same time: (1) complicated in what is happening in his head, (2) spontaneous in his reactions face to adversities that arise on his way, and finally (3) a guy who has a good heart. His good heart attracts the sympathy of people he encounters in his life and the love of a few. The outcome of this story is very optimistic. Maybe even too optimistic. This makes the film conveys optimism and cheerfulness and is why it deserves to be seen.
2014-09-11
Great movie with all the humor and lightness of the 2 first
It's great even if you haven't seen the 2 first movies! But if you have, know that it brings you the same kind of lightness and fun. Makes you want to enjoy life to the fullest! Each character is perfectly built up, and you get attached to all of them (I feel like I know them personally and would happily move in with them!)

Of course, this movie builds up on the story that started 20 years earlier, so it's great to see how each of these people evolved, how life changes, and how it's still linked to the past. It's hard not to fall in love with these people! Each of the 3 movies happens in a totally different place. So let yourself be carried away!
2014-01-31
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