Thousands of people cross paths every day in Paris at the bustling, hectic Gare du Nord. It’s where Ismaël, who’s conducting surveys and completing his thesis on the train station, meets the beautiful 50-year-old Mathilde. Though she first rebuffs him, there’s still a spark and they strike up a conversation. Train stations are known for fleeting encounters, yet this chance meeting between a man and a woman develops into something more, a romance that’s intense, exquisite, but also impossible. As she gets to know Ismaël, Mathilde begins to see the Gare du Nord
in a different light. The station has a true soul and teems with life—travellers, workers, merchants, cops and even the gangs that hang out there. Through this simple yet radical exploration, Claire Simon paints a subtle, vibrant portrait of a society founded on extreme mobility, high speed and a state of flux. There’s no lesson to be given here. Instead, this very human film is simply a testament to the powers of observation.