Chinese Puzzle


The delightful French comedy Chinese Puzzle, a follow-up to director Cédric Klapisch’s smash-hit L’Auberge Espagnole, is set against the colorfully chaotic backdrop of New York City, and features stellar performances from French film favorites Audrey Tautou (Amélie) and Romain Duris (The Beat That My Heart Skipped). Xavier Rousseau (the ever-charming Duris) is a 40 year-old father who’s frequently on the run. Whether he’s chasing present or past lovers, his children or his friends, the message is clear – here is a fellow who is easily distracted and can lose sight of the things he wants and needs. He’s led a whirlwind life and just as he’s settling down in Paris to write about it, his British wife Wendy (Kelly Reilly) tells him she’s leaving and taking their kids to New York City. Since his best gal pal Isabelle (Cécile De France) is also living there with her Chinese-American girlfriend, he decides to relocate. Soon, Xavier is trying to carve out a place for himself amidst the cheerful chaos of Chinatown. Separation, stepfamilies, gay parents, immigration, working under the table, globalization: Xavier’s life is like a Chinese puzzle. But although it lacks serenity, it does provide a rich source of material for his writing. And when Xavier’s former flame Martine (Audrey Tautou) arrives with her two kids for a visit, the stage is set for a crazed comedy of errors fueled by the complexities of the heart. Picking up his characters 15 years after The Spanish Apartment, director Cédric Klapisch offers a delightfully multicultural look at the challenges and complications of romantic commitment and parenting when one still hasn’t determined what being an adult really means.