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The myth of ‘la vie en rose’ lives on

The myth of 'la vie en rose' lives on
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Hit Netflix series ‘Emily in Paris’ is being criticised for once again showing the romanced version of the City of Light

Paris: Love it, hate it or love to hate it: the smash-hit Netflix series Emily in Paris, which perpetuates long-held fantasies about the City of Light involving berets and pleasure-loving Frenchies, leaves no one indifferent.

After An American in Paris, Funny Face, Moulin Rouge or Amelie, the rose-tinted, romanced vision of Paris — with Instagram a new arrival — is once again laid out in all its glory in one of the most-watched series of the moment.

Many French critics have castigated the 10-episode series, tired of seeing Parisians portrayed as suspicious concierges, unfriendly bakers or waiters, or snobbish, lazy and/or flirty colleagues.

The American heroine, meanwhile, doesn’t seem to ever take the metro and lives in an attic room once supposedly used for maids that is implausibly big, above a handsome neighbour who is just as implausible.

It is a sugarcoated reality that irritates Lindsey Tramuta, an American writer who has lived in Paris for 15 years. “We are in 2020 and we are still recycling the old cards. It is not a harmless series of cliches,” she says.

For Tramuta, the rose-tinted portrayal “is an example of the way Paris is exploited by film companies, luxury brands, authors, it makes the city look like an Instagram-filtered playground”.

Criticised too for magnifying the French-US culture clash, Emily in Paris has nevertheless found success in recycling the decades-old cliches and Netflix is entirely at ease with that.

“If Emily had come to your city and not ‘in Paris’, what would the big cliches of the series be?,” it joked on Twitter. AFP

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