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Director Otar Iosseliani calls his film an “abstract comedy,” and it's clear what he means: it isn't the actors who are funny (most of them are nonprofessionals), and neither do they say funny things. Instead, the wit depends on a dryly distanced global vision of the infinite interconnectedness of people, things, and events. Iosseliani (Pastorale), a native of the former Soviet Georgia, chose Paris as the setting for his first non-Russian film, and the city has rarely looked so vibrantly alive as it does in this curious outsider's view. Among the characters are a bomb manufacturer, his manicurist girl friend, an anarchist schoolteacher, a baby-faced police chief, a gentleman thief, a punk rock singer, and assorted prostitutes and bums; their lives intersect in unpredictable, complex, and ironic patterns. The closest reference point is, perhaps, Tati.

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