Adria Petty | 2008 | 68 min | US
After watching Paris, Not France I have little doubt that the controversy surrounding it was entirely cooked up by Hilton's people. Over the last couple weeks there has been much ballyhoo about her gang being enraged by this documentary, assembling an army of lawyers to prevent the Toronto Film Festival from showing it. But TIFF would not (entirely) back down! They compromised in cutting the number of screenings from three to one, but allowed the the first and largest venue screening to carry on. Piss poor ticket sales, however, resulted in many, many empty seats in the 900 seat Ryerson Theatre. And there were going to be two more screenings? I don't think so.
What is ostensibly an edgy, tell all, behind the facade portrait of Paris Hilton is nothing of the sort. There is absolutely NOTHING in this movie that Hilton could take offense to. It's a fucking love letter. So what better way for a lackluster star vehicle to get a little heat behind it than for the star to launch an assault-by-media on the supposedly sensational documentary? Maybe a little controversy was just what the accountant ordered. My conspiracy theory is somewhat backed up by Paris Hilton being in attendance for the screening. For a movie she doesn't want you to see? Surely she can't be quite as offended by the tell all as she claims. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I saw that little fraggle with my own eyes. Should anyone want to see through my eyes, a google image search of "TIFF" and "Paris" should reveal about one thousand images of said fraggle, judging by the number of flashes popping all around the theatre prior to showtime.
Here are the shocking revelations contained within Paris, Not France: Paris is actually very smart; she is a self made woman; she loves to shop; she loves her grandma; she doesn't need to go to college to learn how to be herself. Gritty material. Except that you could throw a rock and hit an entertainment show with more shocking news about her on a nightly basis.
Surely with a sixty-eight minute runtime there was room for something other than her family praising her. Camille Paglia has a couple interesting (if well tread) moments, as does the possibly undead crisis management specialist on Hilton's payroll, but it was not enough to keep me from looking at my watch half a dozen times.
Moreover, it is a mess even on a technical level. I would have to assume this is not a final cut (though no such mention was made), because the video was of such poor resolution in so many shots that I was surprised it was being shown at all. The audio design is of similar quality. If this is truly the last time anyone will see this version of the movie, as touted in the festival promotional material, then it is a blessing for all. The best thing about this doc is the title. Really good title, though.
Despite the tall tales weaved about the SHOCK HORROR that Paris, Not France was sure to deliver, the end result is so fawning that it may as well have been made by Hilton's best friend from summer camp.