1 item from 2006
Being in Paris is to be inside a work of art, and it is no surprise that in the charming collection of vignettes that make up Paris je t'aime, the art is love. This is a Paris where Oscar Wilde can reappear beside his grave at Pere Lachaise to give squabbling lovers a sense of humor. A vampire may pounce on an unsuspecting backpacker in the Madeleine. A cowboy on horseback can bring a grieving mother back to her family. A paramedic may fall in love with her bleeding patient.
Love in all its weird and wonderful forms is the subject of 18 short films made by an assortment of international directors who bring individual vision to a collective love letter to the French capital. Most of the directors have written their own pieces, and they range from whimsical to romantic, to dramatic and tragic.
With many familiar faces including Juliette Binoche, Fanny Ardant, Natalie Portman, Nick Nolte, Steve Buscemi, Bob Hoskins and Gena Rowlands, the film is necessarily uneven but has an overall winning charm and can expect a warm reception in art houses around the world.
Buscemi and Coen brothers completists will not want to miss their hilarious tale of an American tourist on the Metro stop at the Tuileries learning firsthand how accurate his guidebook is. Forget The Da Vinci Code -- anyone who sees this film will never look at Mona Lisa's smile again without thinking of the matchless Buscemi.
An offbeat sense of humor is established from the opening story, subtitled Montmartre, in which a frustrated young man (writer-director Bruno Podalydes) struggles to find a parking spot only to spend the time parked complaining aloud about why he can't find a girlfriend.
Then a lovely young woman (Florence Muller) faints beside his car. It's Paris.
Isabel Coixet manages to find great humor in a story of a failed love affair given new life after one of the lovers (Miranda Richardson) is diagnosed with terminal leukemia, while Oliver Schmitz's new paramedic (Aissa Maiga) learns how fleeting love can be while treating a stab victim (Seydou Boro).
Several sequences begin with misdirection so that Nolte's May-December romance turns out to be not that at all, while Hoskins and Ardant's strip club encounter involves more than a little planned artifice. Tom Tykwer's tale of an actress (Portman) trying to break off her affair with a blind linguist (Melchior Besion) also holds a surprise. Sylvain Chomet's item involving mimes is pleasingly self-mocking, and Alexander Payne's narrative of a Denver matron (Margo Martindale) visiting the city to improve her halting French begins in sarcasm and ends in sympathy.
Binoche grieves for her dead son in Nobuhiro Suwa's parable about a cowboy (Willem Defoe) who rides the midnight streets of Paris to ease her pain. Director Barbet Schroeder has fun along with Li Xin in a wacky musical fantasy by Christopher Doyle. Wes Craven naturally gravitates to a graveyard for his oddball contribution involving Wilde.
The cinematography is varied and wonderful. Pierre Adenot's music fits the bill, and there's a great waltz at the end with English adaptation by Oscar-winning lyricist Will Jennings.
PARIS JE T'AIME
Victoires International in association with Arrival Cinema
Directors: Bruno Podalydes
Gurinder Chadha, Gus Van Sant, Joel and Ethan Coen, Walter Salles & Daniela Thomas, Christopher Doyle, Isabel Coixet, Nobuhiro Suwa, Sylvain Chomet, Alfonso Cuaron, Olivier Assayas, Oliver Schmitz, Richard LaGravenese, Vincenzo Natali, Wes Craven, Tom Tykwer, Frederic Auburtin & Gerard Depardieu, Alexander Payne
Producers: Claudie Ossard & Emmanuel Benbihy
Co-producer: Burkhard Von Schenk
Original idea: Tristan Carne
Concept: Emmanuel Benbihy
Production designer: Bettina von den Steinen
Editing supervisors: Simon Jacquet, Frederic Auburtin
Original music: Pierre Adenot
No MPAA rating
Running time -- 120 minutes »
1 item from 2006
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