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You Are Not Just Dating Her, You Are Dating Her Culture

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You Are Not Just Dating Her, You Are Dating Her Culture

2 Days in Paris, Julie Delpy. 2007

Culture is a way of life. People are bonded by a shared set of ideas, beliefs, behavior, customs, traditions, rituals, dress, and language, as well as art, music, and literature. It is essentially the foundation to each person’s being. Two people in love can’t have a strong relationship if they are not able to understand or even respect each other’s culture. Julie Delpy’s film 2 Days in Paris highlights how differences between the French and the American culture can ruin a couple’s relationship.

2 Days in Paris was written, produced, directed, edited, and composed by French born actress Julie Delpy who also plays the female lead, Marion. The film begins as French-born photographer Marion and her American boyfriend are traveling after an unromantic vacation in Venice, Italy. Before returning to New York City, the volatile couple decides to spend two days in Paris where Marion keeps an apartment upstairs from her parents.

Even though one just dates the individual, their family is an immense aspect of their life, and it is important to connect with them. Jack is unable to form a connection with Marion’s non-English speaking parents who appear to dislike Americans. He made an effort to learn basic French words and phrases, but mostly Marion is left to translate. His frustration becomes apparent after Marion translates something her father said and Jack quips, “How do I know [what he said]? [For] all I know he could have said I killed Christ.” He is also uncomfortable at lunch, not just because an entire rabbit is being served, but also because everyone seems to be fighting in French. He doesn’t have a clue as to why, and thinks it is because of him. Later, Jack attempts to engage by showing pictures from their Italian trip; however, it quickly turns awkward when Marion’s mother brings out an embarrassing photo of Jack naked with balloons tied to his genitals. Everyone, except Jack, laughs as if they have seen it before.

In the French culture, humor is more oriented toward others than themselves, and laughing at someone else’s expense is not seen as hurtful. Jack does not see the humor in his embarrassment from the shared photo. He confronts Marion later to explain that showing it was an invasion of their relationship. Marion laughs it off and explains that the picture was funny, and that her parents enjoyed seeing it.

Jack’s unease of the language barrier also extends into the city. During three different occasions, Marion and Jack experience out spoken cabdrivers. One racist cabdriver comments about Romanians and Arabs, which angers Marion. The two get into a French shouting match. Jack has no idea what is happening or being said and begins to feel endangered. After getting out of the cab, Jack questions


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