PARIS, JE T'AIME (PARIS,
I LOVE YOU) (2007)
Steve Buscemi, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Juliette Binoche, Catalina
Sandina Moreno, Elijah Wood, Natalie Portman, Melchior Beslon, Ben
Gazzara, Gena Rowlands, Nick Nolte, Ludivine Sagnier, Miranda
Richardson, Fanny Ardant, Bob Hoskins, Emily Mortimer, Rufus Sewell,
Willem Dafoe, Marianne Faithfull, Barbet Schroeder, Xin Li, Paul Putner,
Olga Kurylenko, Margo Martindale and Gerard Depardieu.
Olivier Assayas, Emmanuel Benbihy, Gurindher Chadha, Sylvain Chomet,
Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Isabel Coixet, Wes Craven, Alfonso Cuaron,
Christopher Doyle, Gabrielle Keng, Richard LaGravenese, Kathy Li,
Vincenzo Natali, Alexander Payne, Bruno Podaydes, Gena Rowlands, Walter
Salles, Oliver Schmitz, Nobuhiro Suwa, Daniela Thomas, Tom Tykwer
and Gus Van Sant.
Olivier Assayas, Frederic Aubertin, Emmanuel Benbihy, Gurindher Chadha,
Sylvain Chomet, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Isabel Coixet, Wes Craven,
Alfonso Cuaron, Gerard Depardieu, Christopher Doyle, Richard LaGravenese,
Vincenzo Natali, Alexander Payne, Bruno Podaydes, Walter Salles, Oliver
Schmitz, Nobuhiro Suwa, Daniela Thomas, Tom Tykwer
and Gus Van Sant.
Distributed by First Look Pictures. 116 minutes. Rated R.
Paris, Je T'Aime (Paris, I Love You)
Paris is a city full of
wonder, beauty, intrigue, mystery, love and diversity. It has inspired
artists and cynics, the amorous and fighters, adults and children, lovers and
loners. If you have bought into some people's cynical attempts to
denigrate the country and the city, get over your freedom fries crap --
Paris is simply the most beautiful city in the world.
Paris, Je T'Aime is
an attempt to capture Paris in all of its complicated majesty by allowing
some of the great filmmakers in the world to show life in the city in
bite-sized chunks. It is a short-story collection of eighteen
mini-films which tries to capture the city through the diversity of the
people who visit and live there.
The directors were only
given two hard-and-fast rules. Each short film must revolve around a
specific neighborhood of the city. And each story must be about love.
That does not necessarily
mean romantic love -- though that is certainly the subject of quite a few of
the tales -- it could also encompass familial love, unrequited love, love of
self, love of place, love-gone-cold, love-not-captured, raw passion or
Just like the lives in the
city, the film is made up of all ages and races, religions and cultures.
The stories can be comic, tragic, trivial, ironic, slapstick, surreal,
gothic, sordid, sadistic, sappy, cynical... sometimes all of these things at once.
Like any anthology-type
film, some of the stories are good. Some are not so good.
Luckily, the good well outnumber the lame. However, at about five
minutes apiece, even the worst episodes (the visually beautiful but
ridiculously surreal dream of a middle-aged beauty supplies salesman comes
immediately to mind) are gone soon enough and you are on to the next.
On the other hand, the best
of the stories run out way too soon. You want to learn more about the
lives of the young student who meets a sweet Muslim girl by the Seine or the
lonely middle-aged Denver mailwoman (Margo Martindale) who finally gets to
take her dream trip to the City of Lights but has no one to share it with.
Either one of these shorts could make a fascinating feature.
Despite actors of many
cultures, the dialogue is mostly in French, with some English mixed
in. Most of the actors sound completely fluid and comfortable with the
language and even when they don't (particularly the lonely mailwoman) it is
part of the point of the character.
Some of the stories are a
little odd -- for example, the love affair between two mimes and a young man
[Elijah Wood] who is so attracted to a beautiful vampiress that he offers
himself up as a victim.
However, for each of these
there are stunningly subtle human stories, like that of a nanny (Catalina
Sandina Moreno) who has to leave her own infant behind to care for the child
of a rich absentee mother or one final meeting between an older, divorcing
couple (Ben Gazzara and Gena Rowlands). There are also some
surprisingly funny pieces, like Steve Buscemi as a tourist who inadvertently
gets intimately mixed up in a French couple's argument.
At the end of the film,
some of the characters which appeared throughout are shown to have some
connections with others who were from other stories. It's a nice
touch, but honestly kind of unnecessary. These stories don't need any
real connections, other than the basic connection of them being unique human
stories from people sharing life with others in a specific place.
Plus, the scenery in nearly
every story is absolutely stunning. What more can you ask?
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2007 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved.
Posted: September 1, 2007.
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Posted: September 1, 2007.