Paris, Je T'aime

 
Released: April 19, 2007
Grade: B-

At the top of my reviews, I always list the director, writer and stars of the film.  It’s the easiest part of my reviews as it requires no thought – I simply grab the info from the Internet Movie Database.  I’ve run into a problem however with Paris, je t’aime as its structure is unlike any mainstream film that I’ve seen before.  It has 22 directors, 23 writers and 44 actors.

If you’re wondering how this can be, it’s because Paris, je t’aime is a compilation of short films which have been put together by some of the world’s most recognisable directors.  They were each given 5 minutes to tell a love story set in Paris.  This helps explain the English translation of the title which is Paris, I Love You.

As there are twenty different stories, there’s no point trying to provide a plot description.  This makes it a rather interesting movie-going experience because instead of seeing one big film, it feels like you’re seeing twenty tiny films.  For this reason, there aren’t the lulls that you’d expect in your usual two-hour flick.  The cast, the story and the style are always changing and this should keep your attention.

As you’d expect however, some tales are more interesting than others.  If you see the movies with others, you can debate which were the most enjoyable on the way home from the theatre.  It should come as no surprise that my favourite stories were those from my favourite directors.  These would be the scenes directed by Ethan and Joel Coen (Fargo), Gus Van Sant (Elephant), Tom Twyker (Run Lola Run) and Alexander Payne (Sideways).  Payne’s film (which appears at the very end) was my favourite.

The most recognisable members of the cast would be Steve Buscemi, Juliette Binoche, Willem Dafoe, Nick Nolte, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Elijah Wood, Natalie Portman and Gena Rowlands.  There are plenty of other familiar faces and those that see plenty of movies, will easily spot them.  If you’re planning on seeing this film because you’re a fan of a certain actor, keep in mind that you won’t be seeing too much of them!

I went to Paris three years ago but now having seen Paris, je t’aime, I realise that there are some amazing places within the city that I haven’t experienced.  It makes me want to go back.  Collectively, the filmmakers have done a great job at capturing Paris’s beauty and spirit.

Whilst I liked the concept of this movie, too many of its stories weren’t to my liking.  I’d give some an A grading but others a C grading.  It makes it a hard film to review as a whole.  My overriding thought is that if I went to a short film festival (and there are plenty of them on during the year), I think I’d see a more exciting and original range of films.