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Review: 'The Queen Of Paris' is Not to Be Missed

by Roger Walker-Dack
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Monday Sep 28, 2020
'The Queen of Paris'
'The Queen of Paris'  

The delightful French TV miniseries "The Queen of Paris" (a.k.a. "Clément, reine de la nuit"), directed by Holy Fatima and Anne Flore Trichilo, is the story of a 30-year-old chemist called Clément. When his working day ends, this disarmingly charming young man transforms into Veronika, a much-beloved drag queen that performs with a troupe of friends in a series of small (and not so small) Parisian bars.

Right from the very first frame, it is impossible not to be swept up by Clément's infectious good humor. He squeezes his self-described chubby frame into extravagant and ornate homemade costumes before jumping into cabs to get to the venue for the night's performance. He is the self-styled den mother of the Van Lear family of drag queens who look up to him for support, encouragement, and advice.

They are all very well put together, but this is not the overly-polished, extremely bitchy, and hostile work of drag as created and portrayed on reality TV. In many senses, it is an almost forgotten world where queens did drag for the sheer fun and enjoyment of it, and we just lapped it up.

The camera follows Clément/Veronika throughout a week or two as he prepares, preforms, and even gets dressed up in front of his roommate... who is also his mother. What comes over in this very affectionate profile is the sheer joy he gets from his life, and how he passes that on to others.

There is little talk of having a romantic relationship, which many drag queens find difficult to balance. One of his friends, Loic (a.k.a. Bertha), recounts that he thought a potential boyfriend was into him (as a man) but then demanded Bertha put on her big wig before they made out.

What really cements the series for us is seeing Clément and a large group of drag queens dressed up to the nines, hitting the streets of the Marais in central Paris with collection tins for AIDS victims.

"The Queen of Paris" is a wee gem that you shouldn't miss

Roger Walker-Dack, a passionate cinephile, is a freelance writer, critic and broadcaster and the author/editor of three blogs. He divides his time between Miami Beach and Provincetown.

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