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The Eddy, or Why You Shouldn't Believe What Everyone Says

The Eddy represents a Paris of the present, immersed in the remnants of a Paris of the past.

Jazz halls filled with smoke, the laughter of waitresses filling a room, music hypnotising tenants to dance.

It toys with a Paris that is still in the hearts of those abroad and at home.

Two old friends, African-American Elliott Udo (André Holland) and French Farid (Tahar Rahim) own a Jazz Bar called the Eddy in the 13th arrondissement in Paris.   

The bar is struggling, both artistically and financially. People are coming into the bar in the hopes of seeing Elliott play, but, still mourning the loss of his son, he never does, and the audience is dwindling.

Farid’s sudden murder and the impromptu arrival of his daughter Julie (Amandla Stenberg) shakes up the protagonist Elliott and we stumble behind him as he navigates these events in a gritty, multicultural and romantic Paris, all while trying to keep his club and his band together.

The Eddy is an immersive experience that deconstructs the romanticized Paris and exposes the much more real and interesting Paris of today, a melting pot of different ethnicities and cultures.

The main plot line, launched by Farid’s murder by a shady debt collector played by Alexis Manenti (Les Misérables) is the least important. However, Julie’s troubled character, her relationship with her father and her interactions with the cast members are fascinating. 

 

The multiple directors of The Eddy each have their own style, and their unique background. Yet this is never mentioned in the press, though it should be celebrated as an original take on promoting diverse talent.


However, similar to how the biggest plot line is the least interesting, the press is highlighting the least interesting elements of the show, to its discredit. 

Magazines and online platforms such as IndieWire, Variety, Slate and NME all claim that the show is the director of La La Land Damien Chazelle’s creation. This could not be further from the truth. Chazelle only directed the first two episodes of the show. The show was not written and created by him either. Therefore his participation was in fact quite minimal. 

What’s more, many of these same critics seem to have only watched the first two episodes of the series, completely disregarding the rest of the show and the other directors. These directors are quite divergent from Chazelle. The two following episodes are directed by Houda Benyamina, a prominent filmmaker and screen-writer who "brought the banlieues to Hollywood" then Laila Marrakchi (Marock) and finally Alan Poul (Six Feet Under). These directors each have their own style, and their unique background. Yet this is never mentioned in the press, though it should be celebrated as an original take on promoting diverse talent.

 The shaky, close up camera movement which gives a gritty and real feel to the world of the series coupled with amazing acting from Amandla Stenberg (The Hate U Give), Joanna Kulig (Cold War) and many more lesser known talents makes for a great watch, and opens a door into a different way of thinking about television.

Therefore, don’t be fooled by the reviews. The critics are watching the show for the wrong reasons and therefore expecting an idyllic, romanticized Paris rather than engaging with the much more real and interesting Paris of today, a melting pot of different ethnicities and cultures. By doing this they are also favoring an American white male director rather than engaging with other lesser known and minority directors. The lens Chazelle presents us with is only to set up the themes Benyamina, Poul and Marrakchi delve into further along in the series. This makes for a revolutionary take on what television, especially on a streaming platform can be, and where it can take us, whether we are watching it in our own Paris or anywhere else on this planet.

 

Catch THE EDDY on Netflix around the world! 

 

Eliana Henrich, writer for CINEWAX

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