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|Index||124 reviews in total|
This is a series of 18 shorts by 21 directors. Some are a joy to watch,
others are painful. Since there are more good than bad here, I'm giving
a marginal recommendation.
The only ones I absolutely hated were: Christopher Doyle's piece about Asian hair dressers (?), which was weird and pointless, Elijah Wood's odd vampire love story, and Cuaron's film with Nick Nolte. I bet even the biggest Cuaron fan would be disappointed at his camera work here.
The funniest were Alexander Payne's film, documenting a lonely American's vacation in Paris, the piece with the mimes by the director of Triplets of Bellville, and the Coen brother's piece with Steve Buscemi.
And since it's Paris, the most romantic pieces: Gurinder Chadha's story about a boy with a crush on a Muslim, and Tom Tykwer's fast-paced blind romance with Natalie Portman.
'Paris, je t'aime...' I can't but agree with these words... Millions of people can't but agree with them, including Ethan & Joel Coen, Gérard Depardieu, Tom Tykwer & Gus Van Sant. This film became the 'demonstration' of their love to Paris. Surely good idea, but... The fact is that the result is not so magnificent as many of us have expected. One can say that the genre of the film is very specific, that it's very hard to tell a whole story in a few minutes - I'm agree with all that, by all means, - but still, it's not what I've expected... At first, I should tell everyone who really loves Paris that most likely you won't find the great atmosphere of this splendid city in this film. Maybe because it's too elusive to be found in a film... Anyway, I don't wanna say that the film is a bad one! It's absolutely worth seeing. And even if you don't like some of these short stories, you'd better continue watching the film, because most likely at least one story would be worth of your attention... Speaking about me, I can say that the film left a contradictory impression. For example, the story told by my favourite Ethan & Joel Coen was a very good one. And at the same time I think that it's not their best work... So, pro et contra: pro: interesting idea, great staff. contra: different level of short stories told in a film by different directors, very less of Paris itself in a film (all these people could make a film named, for instance, "I love you, London" or "Ti amo, Roma" - and the result would be the same), the film is surely not the best one in this genre (in comparison with, for instance, "Coffee and cigarettes"). Conclusion: better watch it yourself.
The concept give twenty directors 5 minutes each to make a short film set in Paris and then put them together in such a way as to create a coherent film. The result is mixed but overall pretty good. With the city of love as a backdrop you get tales of people falling in and out of love with each other and the French capital itself. There are happy stories, sad stories, funny stories and the truly bizarre. Each segment has its own charm and being so short if there's one you're not liking its not long until you're on to the next, basically there isn't enough time for any to outstay there welcome. Stand out ones for me were Tom Tykwer's 'Faubourg Saint-Denis' in which he utilises some of the flair he showed in 'Run Lola run' and redeems himself after the appalling 'Perfume', the triumphant return of the Cohen brothers with 'Tuileries' which not only stars the fabulous Steve Buscemi but also has some great laughs, Sylvain Chomet's comical 'Tour Eiffel' which takes the idea of the French mime artist and turns it stylishly on its head and Vinsenzo Natali's 'Quartier de la Madeleine' which is probably the most visual, shot in black and white with bright red blood in the style of 'Sin City' it tells of vampires that lurk the late night streets. For any one who loves any of the directors and for anyone that loves the city then this film is a must see, I also enjoyed spotting where I had stayed in the segment called 'Pigalle' as well as other places I have visited. A brilliant concept and well executed it not only showcases a host of great writer/directors but a wealth of acting talent. Just like the American lady in the very funny '14ème Arrondissement' I love Paris and you will too.
So exclaims a middle-aged letter carrier from Denver, who in an only-in-Paris epiphany realizes she has fallen in love with the city and the city with her. Love in other words in Paris is synonymous with being alive. Even the British wit Oscar Wilde is buried there, never more alive than resting among the equally romantic French.
The eighteen short features in Paris, je t'aime are so lyrically evocative of the great city that any synopsis of even one is like knowing beforehand when and with whom you will fall in love when you first visit the city. These moments just shouldn't be known ahead of its time. Suffice it to say, directors such as Gus Van Sant,the Coen Brothers, Alfonso Cuaron, Alexander Payne, Tom Tywker, and Wes Craven gently and unobtrusively (Well, maybe not Craven or Tywker, strangers to the understatement) direct vignettes titled after famous districts in the city of love such as Montmartre, Bastille, and Le Marais.
The actors are a cross-section of international stars from Juliette Binoche and Catalina Sandino Marino to Ben Gazzara and Steve Buscemi. The stories are as different as each of the famous places and actors but tied together by the romantic vicissitudes of love. You need not ever have been to Paris to delight in the delicate short-story nature of each film, but if you have, you'll get the city back, as Rick told Ilsa, and then you'll always have it.
The power of this movie is the power of all movies, even those with multiple directors, that address the binding we feel in the presence of a great city and great love. A lyric in the song playing over the end credits crystallizes for me the human quality of Paris, je t'aime:
"All we know is we're all in the dance."
Paris, je t'aime- or Paris, I Love You- promises to be 18 or so stories
of love in the city of love, and it's almost correct. There are some
stories (or more approximately situations) that are about a lack of
love as what it is, or just a random near-or-almost sexual encounter.
It's actually not really graphic at all; it's the kind of European
anthology picture I wouldn't mind recommending to my grandparents (save
for one or two shorts that seem to be out of something more attuned to
MTV than art-house France). But the directors, for the most part, don't
disappoint on their skills, and the ones who are as of yet unknown by
me (which are, actually, about half at least) are appropriately hit or
miss for a work like this. The good news, which is sometimes hard to
determine when it comes to these multi-faceted and stylized works
within a work, is that there's an overall sense of lightness, joy, and
even in despairing moments that the characters are deep down glad
they're having their stories play out where they're at, where it's
industrialized but textured, with a unique quality to it that bounces
out back at the people.
Some of the 'known' directors, or at least more well-renown in independent film circles, provide surprises as well as riffs on what they're good at. Sylvain Chomet is a particular example of bravura film-making in that he's able to transfer his unique qualities as an animator to live-action with characters and style that are one and the same with animation; the mime story acts as something so light and fuzzy, but wildly funny as only cartoons can be. The Coen Brothers do their part at comedic outrageousness, though only in a crazy style once or twice (notably when it involves syphilis), which has Buscmemi along as a bewildered tourist in a subway station. Wes Craven surprises for sure with a long conversation about the lack of humor in a relationship, with Oscar Wilde even making a guest appearance (ironic, since his short comes after a vampire love-story, which is actually one of the weaker shorts). Gus Van Sant and Richard LaGravanese return to familiar territory with some characters looking for love in places that aren't really for sure, and in holding on to what may not still be there. Cuaron's segment is maybe too simple a feat for the director (only one long-take this time?), but works well enough with Nolte as a chain-smoking father. And Tom Twyker makes his a blast and a frustration as a story gets told at rapid-pace cutting and fast-motion speed between an actress and a blind man.
Other filmmakers, some of the more obscure ones aside to those who already know of them from European or Asian art-houses, may lapse sometimes into areas that aren't as alluring or experimental in successful ways. Some go for easy ground, like cultural divides, urban crime, a life and death illness, old couples, and one that doesn't seem to have much to do with love- Salles short- but rather what it is to replace love with nurturing one that isn't your own. These shorts are acceptable as is, since they are, of course, par for the course of an anthology film. It's of note, actually, that one wouldn't want to come across great film to great film, because it would lack the surprises of what is a film-festival atmosphere. It's an overall bitter-sweet, more so the latter, collection of tastes and attitudes and pure human connections in one of the greatest cities in the world. And the producer is very wise to end the film with Payne's short, tying in many elements touched upon, while making his own personal statement as a native of Nebraska. Se la vie! 7.5/10
I love Paris. I love seeing Paris. So I was interested in seeing this movie. I didn't read up on it before watching and at first I thought this was going to be one of those movies where several story lines come together and you are introduced to the main characters one by one(think of short cuts or love actually as an example). I started of interesting with the guy helping out the passed out woman and I liked the part with the obnoxious young French guys. Then with the awkward Chinese story I started to realize that there was no coherence to this movie. Just a sequence of short movies shot in Paris. I didn't relate to most of it. I was watching it with my girlfriend and we noticed that we were just 'sitting through it'. I didn't get the 'cowboy on a horse' part and I didn't understand the 'Nick Nolte talking to some young French girl in a street' either. I was completely annoyed with the pantomime part. So we turned it off. I guess I just didn't 'get it'.
There were enough good bits in this to make it worth watching for someone about to visit Paris, but plenty of the shorts were incomprehensible, or loosely written, or just plain unimaginative. First the good bits - the wonderful Tour Eiffel, with its beautifully-put together silly story of two mime artists. Second, the Coen Brothers managed to make half a good contribution with some typical Barton Fink touches. Denver woman was perfectly ironically judged and very touching. Low points - Nick Nolte in a piece by Alfonso Cuaron which I couldn't see the point of: Gurinder Chadha's awful piece of PC preaching: this brings me back to the first point: how many directors can't write. Or maybe they were all doing it for a few dollars and couldn't be bothered to take it seriously: but frankly no-one in film school could get away with the quality of these pieces. Anyway I still liked the basic idea - there's definitely a niche for a film made up of shorts which are both well-written and accessible but this isn't it.
For those who have visited and love Paris, this movie really tugs at the heart and wish you were there. It is a little overlong and some of the segments seemed unnecessary i.e the hairdresser story and the mime one left me cold. The stand out segments would be the injured immigrant and the subway comedy but the final story of the American tourist visiting Paris to test her french almost had me in tears- it was comic in the context of how bad her accent was (but as I have no french, she beats me hands down) and the poignancy of her realization of the effect that Paris had on her rang so true for me. I also loved the threading together in the final moments of the various characters who made up the rich tapestry that this film is. Recommended.
An anthology film featuring several short segments about finding or
losing love in Paris, each directed by a different director, some known
to me, some not, and a host of actors, some known to me, some not.
A couple of the stories land with a thud while some are quite nice. Most of them are pretty melancholy, but Gus Van Sant does direct a rather funny episode about a French man who thinks he finds his soul mate in another young man and talks his ear off, not realizing that the other man doesn't understand a word of French. Catalina Sandino Moreno gives a lovely performance in an achingly sad story about a poor young mother who travels across the city every day to take care of a wealthy lady's baby, leaving her own baby in the care of others. Ben Gazzara and Gena Rowlands do terrific work in a segment about a separated couple meeting in a restaurant to finalize their divorce. Maggie Gyllenhaal and Natalie Portman are two of the more famous faces in the film, but they don't get very good material to work with. There's a Gothic vampire segment starring Elijah Wood and a just plain weird story directed by Joel Coen and starring Steve Buscemi. Those of you who go to the film hoping to see the sights of Paris may be disappointed, as much of the action takes place in the confines of restaurants and homes, or in parts of the city that don't have any of the most recognizable landmarks.
By far my favorite segment is the last one in the film, written and directed by Alexander Payne and starring the marvelous Margo Martindale. Martindale plays a dumpy American tourist who travels to Paris by herself earnestly seeking a European adventure. Any American who has traveled abroad hoping not to be instantly recognizable as an American should be able to relate. This segment is the only thing about this diverting but rather forgettable movie that stuck with me.
I saw "Paris Je T'Aime" because a friend really wanted to see it so I
went along with him. Going in, I was indifferent about the film but
leaving the theater I really regretted wasting 2 hours of my life
sitting through this tepid production. The "stories" are almost
completely forgettable except for the fact that most of them were
awful. What do Gena Rowlands and Ben Gazzara have to do with Paris? The
endless parade of American actors most definitely gave this French film
a remarkably non-French feel. The clichés about Paris were endless.
Yes, most of them were playing with clichés about Paris but by spending
so much time making fun of French clichés, they directly and
regrettably promoted them once more. Yes, Paris is the city of love. We
The worst segments were: the one directed by Wes Craven (Oscar Wilde); the one with Nick Nolte; the mime one (the worst?); the hair products one; the one with Juliette Binoche (Willem Dafoe as a cowboy in the middle of Paris?); the vampire one (When I think of Paris I think of Elijah Wood). The one with Natalie Portman, which really looked like a Mentos commercial and it was stupid (the blind young man should know Portman was just playing a part when she called him). On and on it went. It felt endless.
I didn't like the Coen Bros one as well. It really plays with those Parisien clichés but I didn't find it funny. Just annoying. The Gus Van Sant one was interesting but it was so slight (and the punchline was obvious) that it barely registered.
There were only two "successful" segments and they were the one about the immigrant nanny who leaves her baby at a kindergarten only to babysit a baby for a rich woman. Nice irony there. And the segment about the African who is stabbed. It's the best segment in the whole film but this segment has nothing to do with Paris. The story could have taken place in any city around the world.
The last segment, the one with the chubby middle aged woman was sorta interesting too but the underlying tone was bad. They wanted to celebrate her limited grasp of French but the segment came off as being condescending.
The whole project felt forced and uninspired. Almost like the French government sponsored this film to promote tourism. All in all, with only about 10 to 15 minutes of interesting stuff, "Paris Je T'Aime" was an awful cinematic experience.
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