Paris Je T'aime Reviews
My bleeding loss. Welcome to Paris', city of love. I'm not really the type to watch these sort of films, but I guess my expectation of a tour of Paris intrigued me, and it is a tour... of Paris and the many people that inhabit it or visit it - all exploring one point of their lives where things go right, wrong or even crazy - Paris is a city of romance, mystery, fantasy and if you're not careful, horror.
An ensemble cast and directors combine to give us a unique take on the short story spin... this time 18, all based in different districts in Paris, themes of love and relationships with death and horror, dreams and fantasy, indifference, tragedy, racism, cultural and linguistic differences - so many issues protrayed in each segment divided by the many districts in Paris where a different story is set as according to the life within that district.
Since the movie is a blend of many different things, its really hard to define it... you really have to watch it for yourself. Think of it as a book of short stories of life in Paris, where there's something for everyone. My favourite segment is the Coen Bros. short with Steve Buscemi eyeing the paranoid lovers in the Paris subway, whch lead to tensions and shows racial conflict, with their style of dark humor and story telling which I found the most entertaining aspect - how can one NOT avoid seeing love manifesting in Paris?? Even though it could get you into a little trouble. XD
Another segment worth mentioning, which is tragic, is Oliver Schmitz' piece, a dying man's last shot at love, while the woman of his dreams is trying to help him, not knowing how he really feels about her. A truth about love at first sight, it comes like a star shooting star, and disappears just as quickly, before it can manifest and become something much more?
Anyways, its tour book for all you hopeless romantics, poets and thinkers out there with a penchant for romance, puppy love and such... but on the flip side it does come with its own brooding dark side of love can be tainted or poisioned... or in one segment, reignited between two people.
A modern day visual tour book, I think. Anyways, New York I love you came out recently, and a few more are on their way, hopefully each with its own unique take on their respective cities, rather than a rehash of Paris.
This episode film, consisting of 18 segments, feature some short stories that are actually very good. Some totally pointless stories are also included that reduce the whole success of the movie.
My personal favourites were, starting with the best one, Sylvain Chomet's 'Tour Eiffel', Richard LaGravenese's 'Pigalle', Coen Brothers 'Tuileries', Isabel Coixet's 'Bastille', Oliver Schmitz 'Place des Fétes' and Vincenzo Natali's beautiful vampire love story 'Quartier de la Madeleine'.
Someone said to me, or then I read it from somewhere that 'Paris Je T'aime' is about love but this film is not about love, it's all about Paris, the City of Lights. Paris can be at times beautiful, dangerous, sexy and erotic but always full of totally different people and different stories.
Filled with famous faces, Paris Je T?aime discovers all kinds of perceptions of love within the city of love.
Fairly original in creation (although it has been done previously in Asian Cinema with ?Three Extremes?) this collection of stories unleash all kinds of creativity in it?s making.
This review will be pretty long so bear with me. Paris Je T'aime or (Paris, I Love You) is a collaboration of international directors all over the world and tells stories about love in the City of Love. The film is broken down into 18 short films by different directors. While some segments bore me out of my skull and most of them, impressive, "Paris, Je T'aime" as an entity is a brilliant piece of work. Okay, so we'll start off with:
Montmartre: This is the birthplace of one of film's most celebrated characters, Amelie. The short "Montmartre" directed by French writer-director Bruno Podalydes tells the story of a man psycho-analyzing all women who pass by him while inside his car on a parking spot. Fate decides to pair him up with a woman with low sugar level and the rest is history. The opening short was pretty okay, nothing out of the ordinary, it was a generic "when boy meets girl" love story and that was that.
Quais de Seine: A story about three hopeless teenage boys who teases every women they see. One of them however meets a lovely young Muslim woman and immediately on the get-go, it is love at first sight. This segment was better than the first but again nothing special. Directors Chadha & Berges showed that love knows no boundaries even if you're from different ethnicities.
Le Marais: A pretty awkward short by Gus Van Sant. A homosexual Gaspard Ulliel is somehow attracted to a young printshop worker and believes they are soul mates. You can call it a twist perhaps and this short's conclusion will give you a chuckle. The guy said call him not run.
Tuileries: At this part of the film it's already picking up pace as American filmmakers the Coen brothers directs this hilarious segment that stars Steve Buscemi in a non-speaking role and tells the story of an American tourist who breaks the cardinal rule of eye contact while in a Tuileries station. This bit had me laughing all the way and I loved every minute of it.
Loin du 16e: A beautiful short about a woman who leaves her baby in a daycare before taking a long commute to her employer's house to take care of the employer's baby. This one is beautiful. That's all I can say. The lullaby that she sings is quite catchy too.
Porte de Choisy: When I saw this one it reminded me of David Lynch's "Mulholland Drive". Because in a nutshell, this film is just plain weird. So this guy, a hairstylist, heads out to Chinatown in Paris and from this point forward I didn't understand what was going on. The guys who made this must be high up their boners when they shot this one. And alas, it requires second viewing to fully understand it.
Bastille: This is one of my favorites. The story will make you sad although I did not cry like a leaked faucet, I'm still depressed every time I remember this bit.
Place des Victoires: So the previous short was sad right? Wait until you get a hold of this one. Japanese director Nobuhiro Suwa directs Juliette Binoche as a grieving mother and Willem Dafoe as a magical cowboy. This bit is "Bastille" but ten times sad. The story is just heart-breaking.
Tour Eiffel: French animator Sylvain Chomet directs this cute little short about a boy who tells how his parents who are both mimes, meet in prison and fall in love. "Tour Eiffel" is a funny, feel-good, romantic, cute short film that'll surely tickle your funny bone. This one is up there too.
Parc Monceau: Alfonso Cuaron's collaboration stars chain-smoking Nick Nolte and feisty Ludivine Sagnier as they talk about something I don't really care about in one continuous single shot. I can see the effort but the dialogue failed to glue the audience to the characters presented on-screen. Turns out, the 3rd person was the young lady's baby. Wow.
Quartier des Enfants Rouges: French filmmaker Oliver Assayas directs Maggie Gyllenhaal as an American actress in Paris who obtains unstable hashish from her dealer. What kept me glued to this one is not the story but Maggie's acting. It may be short but it was enough. Strong emotions radiates from her face and it is simply amazing.
Place des fêtes: "Bastille" was sad, "Place des Victoires" was 10x sadder but this one is the saddest of the whole bunch. Actually, its not sad, its fucking depressing. To think that it was a short 6 minute film but it felt like watching all of Darren Aronofsky's films in one fell swoop. The short starts simple but then it builds up to one tragic ending with the symbolic, almost poetic, concluding shot of the two coffees the woman is holding.
Pigalle: Remember when I said some shorts bored me out of my skull, well, this is one of them. I love Bob Hoskins as an actor and all but why would I give a flying fuck about two old farts arguing in front of a prostitute? I'm sorry but this short is more suited for old farts.
Quartier de la Madeleine: Vincenzo Natali directs Elijah Wood and Olga Kurylenko in this vampirical take of a love story in the city of Paris. I'm not really a fan of the whole vampire myth but if the vampire is as feisty as Olga Kurylenko, then I'll gladly let her bite me. This one was stunning in a vampiric, weird kind of way. I love it.
Père-Lachaise: This one also belongs to the "Bored-Me-Out-of-My-Skull" department. I didn't know what was going on here. So this woman breaks up with the guy because the guy hates Oscar Wilde but then he trips and bumps his head on Wilde's epitaph and poof! Wilde appears to him to give some love advice and then he runs to the woman to reconcile with her. Yep, that's pretty much it. Sorry, Wes Craven, you're at the back of the line.
Faubourg Saint-Denis: This one is the best of them all. It easily takes the cake as the best short out of the rest well mainly because its directed by underrated German director Tom Tykwer. It also stars Natalie Portman and it is the most deeply affectionate love story of the bunch. Tykwer's style of directing was so spectacular and beautiful and amazing plus you have the most heart-wrenching montage you will ever see. Its just brilliant.
Quartier Latin: Another bore out of my skull short film, this film is about two old farts who meet at a restaurant for one last special dinner before they get divorced. Like I said in "Pigalle", this one is more suitable for old farts.
14e arrondissement: And last but not least, the most amazingly written short directed by Alexander Payne tells the story of a woman from Denver, Colorado who, while on her first Parisian holiday, narrates in rough French what she loves about Paris. The monologue of the woman is well-written and witty. Add to that her fake European accent will make you smile awkwardly. And I love it.
So that's it. My very lengthy review of "Paris, Je T'aime". You'll never see a review this long until "New York, I Love You" comes out. Can't wait.
The Coen's and Van Sant's were my favorites. Doyle's was disappointing
Walter Salles's, Viicenzo Natali's and Christopher Doyle's episodes are the worst to me, the rest is fairly OK except for a few stand-outs: Tom Tykwer's story about an American aspiring actress and a blind French guy who fall in love, Alfonso Cuaron's story in which Ludivine Saigner and Nick Nolte talk about something and then it turns out to be nothing like we expected (it was pretty cool), the Coens' story about an American tourist (Steve Buscemi) who gets beat up in the metro, Isabel Coixet's, and Wes Craven's in which Oscar Wilde gives romantic advice to Rufus Sewell. Gus Van Sant's is pretty bleak but Gaspard Ulliel is great in it.
The 2 best that make the whole thing worth it are Oliver Schmitz's beutiful story about a dying guitarist in Place des Fetes, and Alexander Payne's story about a woman from Denver who recounts her experiences of 6 days alone in Paris. Payne's is the only one that really gets to the bottom of the affair and states just why is it that nous aimons Paris.
Good fun, but nothing you'll regret not seeing.
Bob Leander: Me, me, me, me! You always want your feelings understood! But mine are childish! Sex isn't disgusting unless you make it disgusting! There can be beauty in this place too!
Fanny Forestier: [in French] Not what I call beauty!
Bob Leander: I need a little help! You don't know what it's like for a man when it's all gone! I can't feel anything anymore!
Fanny Forestier: [slaps him] Do you feel *that*?
Bob Leander: [turning to the stripper] What do you charge to watch an argument?
Here is a collection of 18 different short films, featuring a number of recognizable stars and directed by a large list of directors.
All of these films are set in various parts of Paris and all deal with a simple idea that love comes in all forms. Some of the stories are touching. Some are played for their comedy. Some are sad. Some have ironic twists. And some are just strange.
Among the better movies and performances that I can clearly recall include one featuring a boy who encounters a Muslim girl. The Coen brothers, of course, who find another way to put Steve Buscemi in harms way. Wes Craven's short about a couple in a graveyard. One from Tom Tykwer featuring Natalie Portman. One involving a mime. One that features Juliet Binoche dealing with the loss of her child. And one sad story involving a man who just wanted to have coffee with a girl he saw.
Some that are short and sweet involves a long, continuous shot featuring Nick Nolte, ending on a simple joke. One involving Gina Rowlands and Ben Gazzara. And one from Walter Salles, featuring Catalina Sandino Moreno as a caring mother.
And of course you have some of the stranger ones. Gus Van Sant, Ellijah Wood, and Maggie Gyllenhaal each have some strange shorts.
These shorts all have their own style, and most succeed in what they are doing. Its a nice watch, especially when getting to the more touching pieces.
The Husband: In pretending to be a man in love, he became a man in love.