It's always fun to have a film experience where one can go through new territory that stimulates and surprises. 'Paris Je' T'aime' is such a movie. Made like an exceptional French five-course meal, we are given mini-films that are shot and set in different arrondissements (districts, roughly) in Paris, France. Sporting an all-star cast and directed by a who's who of directors, `Paris...' offers a tasty variety of stories and scenes. While certain courses will always be favorites, all the items are prepared to perfection. The shift in stories are not always connected, but neither is a French meal, which may shift distinctly to a cheese plate. Anyhow, the films are often funny, eye-catching, surprising, witty, and scary--each one a jaunt. Actresses, immigrant Muslims, love stories, tourists, and new-found infatuations are but a few of the ingredients used. I wanted to resist comparisons, but while not interlocking vignettes like 'Nine Lives,' the latter film has two things in common with 'Paris Je' T'aime'. One is that there are several stories; the other is that both movies often zero in on pivotal points in people's lives. In one mini-film a blind man discovers a young woman in distress, only to find she is practicing for a part she wishes to obtain in a Paris drama. We watch as we notice the time-lapsed relationship in all its distinctive detail. To just touch base, another film is a heart-warming and quirky family tale all done in mime. Marcell Marceau popped into my mind throughout their fun rendition.
One can't get enough of Paris, and I felt that 'Paris Je 'T'aime' was more than an adequate sampler of the richness of Parisian life. (With Steve Buscemi, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gerard Depardieu, Elijah Wood, and director Wes Craven, et al.)
Paris, Je T'aime is a series of seemingly unrelated vignettes, each about 5 minutes long. As the film progresses, connections begin to build. This is a movie about Paris and the way this enigmatic, iconic city affects those who live there or visit, and each of the short segments has a charm of its own. Happy or sad, tragic or hopeful, these characters, whom we have barely enough time to know, make their humanity manifest in all the most important ways. The scenic elements are fantastic, setting … more
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Even with the impressive talent involved,Paris, je t'aime could've ended up like a fallen soufflé. Though all 18 films aren't equally successful, they hit the mark more often than not. Romantics anticipating happy love stories set amongst the City of Lights may be disappointed to find that many are quite sad and that some parts of Paris are less inviting than others (each takes place in a different district). Further, the shorts aren't all en Français, since the actors and directors hail from around the world, but their outsider perspectives lend the project depth. The strongest entries are provided by Gurinder Chadha (Quais De Seine), Gus Van Sant (Le Marais), Oliver Schmitz (Place des Fêtes), and Alexander Payne (14ème Arrondissement), but all find interesting ways to explore cultural misunderstandings. In Joel and Ethan Coen's tragic-comic Tuileries, tourist Steve Buscemi angers a couple simply by making eye contact. Like Miranda Richardson in Isabelle Coixet's heartbreaking Bastille, he does all his acting with his expressive face. And while Maggie Gyllenhaal speaks the language adroitly in Olivier Assayas's intriguing Quartier des Enfants Rouges, Nick Nolte (purposefully) mangles it in Alfonso Cuarón's surprisingly weak Parc Monceau. The anthology ends with Payne's audio-postcard, in which Margo Martindale's postal carrier narrates her vacation in awkward, but endearing French. Instead of another ...