7 Days In Paris (1993)

Written & directed by: Wan Siu-Kuen
Producer: Chang Chin
Starring: Shing Hiu-Sing, Cécile Fleury, Suen Chi-Wai & Barbara Morgan

This romantic drama rated Category III was expectedly lensed in Paris with partly French crew (lead actress C écile Fleury and cinematographer Pierre Reinhard who directed Fleury's second Hong Kong production Lovers 2 aka Face D'Ange) and executive produced by the visually- and comically gifted Ho Fan (Yu Pui Tsuen, Temptation Summary II and producer of False Lady). Well, Ho Fan presumably wasn't very hands on during the making of this countryside melodrama and he should feel blessed as the crew was clearly making a movie that was much better in their heads. Outside in the real world, 7 Days In Paris is a dull trainwreck missing every conceivable beat aside from justifying the Category III rating.

Chiang (Shing Siu-Hung) travels to Paris from Hong Kong for his vacation. His brother Chie (Suen Chi-Wai) makes a living as an artist and teacher and fortunate for the two, they live next door to the beautiful Isabelle (Barbara Morgan) and her cousin Nina (Cécile Fleury). Nina and Chiang take a liking to each other but as these things go, when love is in the air, life finds a way to draw lovers apart...

Through hazy, foggy images as lensed by Pierre Reinhard, 7 Days In Paris of course is a LITTLE refreshing anyway for a Hong Kong movie as the change of locale COULD offer up something. The French countryside looks sufficiently beautiful and Paris gets a showcase in a tourist film kind of way but Reinhard and writer/director Wan Siu-Kuen can only rely on the sights to a very small extent. You get the expected comedic interludes having to do with the culture shock of kissing as greeting, smelly cheese and the liberated French. The latter aspect gives way to the nudity and what Wan Siu-Kuen bases his attempted depth on. Attempt. While Chie beds almost every French woman he sees in his studio (OF COURSE he does nude models and even paints fruits on one before having his taste of her) and Isabelle's horny, unfaithful boyfriend Pierre gets his way with her even when she says no (she has issues, a painfully poorly injected piece of character depth when you examine the film closely), it's the liberation of the young ones that is director Wan's intention. All noble and good if the young performers were able to transfer any of that to screen either by themselves or via the director. They can't nor don't.

While there's no doubt the characters do get on, Fleury and Shing are a very stale on-screen couple, both together and on individual terms as actors. It's like seeing two opposing forces being forced together and it's an ugly romance being conveyed as it doesn't feel like one at all. The breakout from conservative ways, a first awakening in life, yea it's there if you want to look for it but it isn't felt and then Wan Siu-Kuen turns up the melodrama dial and 7 Days In Paris spirals out of control.

While it doesn't play the bloody tragedy card, when the lovers are threatened to be torn apart, the big score comes in, the fake tears and the sex scenes rife with tragic emotions and as nice as someone like Cécile Fleury looks, as orchestrated all of this is extreme alright but extremely comical in its ill-fitting ways. You wish for a car crash or trainwreck because at least 7 Days In Paris would be a noticeable Hong Kong movie for a minute. As things are now, it's all a short exercise but an unintentionally funny, not very sexy Ho Fan executively produced production. You know what, let's just say his name isn't on the picture because that's how it feels like.


reviewed by Kenneth Brorsson