Paris Episodes opens with a critique of Friedl vom Gröller´s films, as formulated by David Sirois – simply introduced as "poet" in the closing credits. He says he attended the screenings with great expectations and this is precisely why he was at times disappointed and at others was surprised. Along with brilliant moments, there were moments of boredom during which things took too long for normal comprehension. But soon he corrects himself. He feigned his criticism to assert something was wrong that in fact was right – and anyway, the idea of opening her film with a critique of it was a daring choice. Yet the matter of boredom returns. According to Sirois, he fell asleep at three points and Friedl had to wake him up each time so he could watch the rest of the film.
Yet Paris Episodes consists of portraits and fragmented views of the city that are anything but boring. Individuals and pairs of people gladly appear before the camera in situations they themselves selected, repairing Super 8 cameras, kidding around, in church or private quarters – some figures return to appear in several episodes. The development indicated by their return finds its counterpart in routine gestures polished by time, as well as the stasis of political situations: A somewhat longer sequence in the film shows a demonstration against deportations, including the unavoidable presence of the CRS.
In the end, it cannot be entirely mistaken to describe the opening critique which frames this otherwise silent film as humorous and friendly. As betrayed by the image, it is the product of a specific moment: Sirois´ face illuminated by artificial light is seen as he speaks, not necessarily in sync, followed by the friendly smiles of other participants in a situation that clearly resembles the end of a film screening. It is as if the people who appear in the film have just seen it. Without being limited to an obvious reference to Chronique d´un été (1960) by Jean Rouch and Edgar Morin, the first episode presents a kind of didactic instruction: It is not the single self-contained episodes that count, but rather their multi-faceted interconnections to one another. (Vrääth Öhner)
Translation: Eve Heller
Friedl vom Gröller