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Review: Paris, je t’aime (2006) R 120min

June 17th, 2008 by Maxim · No Comments · 4,940 Views


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Paris, je t'aime18 directors and writers combine their short stories into a collage declaring their love for Paris, a beautiful capital known as ”the city of love”. It stars many famous and wonderful French and American actors, including, but not limited to Steve Buscemi, Willem Dafoe, Juliette Binoche, Nick Nolte, Elijah Wood, Natalie Portman, Gérard Depardieu, Gaspard Ulliel (Hannibal Rising), Rufus Sewell, Emily Mortimer as well as Olga Kurylenko of Hitman.

A wonderful concept by creative director Tristan Carné. All these different directors add their own personal touch to the short love stories combined into full feature-length film. These stories show the “city of love” from different perspectives, showing different neighborhoods, people of different background, ethnicity, religion and orientation, and showing all kinds of love: a love story between husband and wife, love affairs, young love, first love, love of a mother for her child, jealousy, random acts of love and kindness. There’s even a Gothic story of love between a vampire (Olga Kurylenko) and a tourist lost in the back-streets of Paris (played by Elijah Wood). This movie is like watching a slide-show or flipping through a photo album or a stack of postcards.

The movie felt unstructured and weird in the beginning, transitioning from one short story to another. For example there was only one short episode that had narration, while 16 others didn’t. It appeared to be similar concept to Love Actually (2003), telling multiple stories at once in multiple languages - but without the comedy. But then I noticed the names of directors during transitions and realized that the movie is actually a presentation of short films in one feature film. There’s no deep strong drama, but just like sometimes a photograph can evoke emotions, so do these short films. As the result, the initial confusion may have been a way for the filmmakers to keep the audience on the edge of the seat. Despite being stitched from segments by so many filmmakers, the movie flawed surprisingly steadily.

The vampire segment and the segment starring Juliette Benoche playing a mother who lost her son were pretty off-putting and outclassed by the rest of the short stories. Couple of segments felt corny. The segments with Steve Buscemy being beaten up in the metro station (by Cohen brothers – writers of No Country For Old Men) and the one where young French student meats a Muslim girl, and one where two lonely mimes meet in jail (directed by Sylvain Chomet).

This movie is a gem. Very enjoyable and thought-provoking.

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Rated 4/5 on Jun 17 2008
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Tags: Cult Films · Drama · Foreign · France · Liechtenstein · Movies · Romance · Switzerland

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