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Nine travelers wait in the departure hall of Paris' Orly airport, a big open space flooded with light and well suited to its purpose. A place where people can wait like people, instead of unconscious objects.
A man and a woman, both French expatriates, meet by chance and talk about their lives. A mother and her teenage son, going to the funeral of her ex-husband and his father, divulge their recent sexual histories. A young German couple on their first trip together. A woman leaving an older lover.
Incredible, but the airport has a rational, progressive attitude toward filming in this 21st century. "People are constantly shooting films in Orly," director Angela Schanelec said in an interview. "I really just got in line."
"We shot on ordinary days and didn't rope off the space, as I had originally planned. We only had the actors and those who played the police and security personnel, because we weren't actually permitted to film the officers on duty." The other people are regular travelers, going about their business, waiting for departure.
Near the end, a burst of Cat Power "Remember me / don't ever forget me child / we all are only here / just for a little while "
In a miracle of focused sight and sound, the scripted stories take place in the context of an extended documentary view of a morning at Orly.
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