Paris, je t’aime, a collection
of eighteen short-films all set in the city of Paris, is a movie
that sort of defies criticism. Because the film was written and
directed by over twenty individuals, it would be fruitless of me
to make generalized judgments about the whole picture. Still,
Paris, je t’aime exists as a singular work for a reason:
each short intertwines with its counterparts to create a unified
work that is effective and thematically whole. Because of this,
it would be equally unfair of me to critique each segment of the
film. Due to the inherent critical paradox at hand, I have
chosen simply to forgo writing a formal review of Paris, je
t’aime. Instead, I will simply share a few of my favorite
features of the movie—the very reasons it should be cherished:
sensuality found in the witty dialogue of Gurinder Chadha’s
“Quais de Seine,” which functions beautifully as a modern
representation of traditional impulses as they relate both to
religion and love.
-The Coen Brothers’
return to the very wide-eyed shots of Steve Bucemi that made
them the famous filmmakers they are today.
in Gus Van Sant’s “Le Marais,” which beautifully evokes the
visions of Truffaut and Bertolucci, even if the rest of the
short isn’t very good.
Moreno’s brilliant face-work in Walter Salles and Daniela
Thomas’ "Loin du 16ème”, which provides the segment an
emotionally intimate core that transcends into a stunning social
commentary by the segment’s conclusion.
ability to turn what begins as a silly story about an irritating
mime into a significant tale about discovering one’s identity in
effective use of hyperkinetic editing in Tom Tykwer’s "Faubourg
Saint-Denis", which leads me to believe the filmmaker’s wacky
style may one day amount to something. That and the fact that
Natalie Portman just keeps getting hotter every time she
appears on a movie screen.
embrace of the existentialist themes of the French New Wave
through his little piece, a hilarious juxtaposition of the
plainness of American Midwestern society and the freeness of
contemporary French society.
-The guts it took for
Vincenzo Natali to not only slap a short-film about vampires
into the middle of this sophisticated project, but rather a
super-stylized dark comedy about vampires. Starring a
devious Elijah Wood, the segment is brilliant in all kinds of
appearance as a cowboy in Nobuhiro Suwa’s “Place de Victoires”.
daring turn as an actress who seeks solace in hashish in Olivier
Assayas’ “Quartier des Enfants Rouges”.
human irony of Isabelle Coixett’s “Bastille”, which follows the
inner-turmoil of a man as he becomes obsessed with his
once-distant, now-terminally-ill wife to try to compensate for
the ignorance he showed her in the past.
stunning compression of time in Oliver Schmitz’ “Place des
fêtes,” which allows the viewer to care more about two
characters in five minutes than many films are able to in two
No offense intended to the five shorts in the movie I left off
this list. Not a single piece of Paris je t’aime is
terribly weak; I just, for whatever reason, found myself less
affected by about a quarter of the segments than I was by the
rest. One things for sure, though: as a unified whole, this is
one of my favorite pictures of the year.