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Paris, je t'aime (2006)
" Lovers of ... love "
Rudyard Kipling once wrote that God gave to all people the ability to love the whole world, but given that a human heart is very small in size, every human has that special place that he loves more than any other. It seems to me that this may have been the motto of some of the most eminent directors of today when they set out to profess the eternal love for that special place and depict situations in the lives of its denizens and visitors. The result is a wonderful collection of short films, Paris je t'aime, in which our guides, Van Sant, Coixet, Cuaron, Payne and others take us on a breathtaking stroll through Parisian arrondissements, human feelings, yearnings and expectations.
Always some other quarter, always some utterly moving story about ordinary people in search for love, be it in a parking lot, art studio, tube station. And Paris je t'aime is about vast array of loves- love for one's partner, child, parent, for those who meant the world to us but are no longer around, love that needs rekindling, serendipitous love for that stranger as your eyes meet, or love that just is not meant to be...today, but tomorrow- who knows?
Nevertheless, this film is not solely about love, but life itself, joy, pain, loneliness, confusion, everyday ups and downs. And its most important quality is the fact that it is not soppy at all, but rather warm and full of hope.
I give this film a 9 because the final section of it suggests how some of the stories might further develop, but not all of them and that is the thing that I find missing, and by "further development" I do not mean some specific reference to the characters' future. As far as everything else is concerned I can only say- captivating. Makes you want to leave everything behind you, flee to Paris and live those little romances yourself.
Das Leben der Anderen (2006)
A gripping story, a true gem.
When I first heard about Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's film "Das Leben der Anderen" and the issue it dealt with, I instantly tipped it to be one of the must-see films. As a great cinema-goer and a genuine admirer of the European cinematography, I was overwhelmed with a notion that a succession of thought-provoking German films would be continued with this moving insight into the lives of others at a very delicate period of the 80s in East Germany. After months of waiting, the Serbian audience was presented with "Das Leben der Anderen" during The Belgrade Film Festival and we related to it to the extent that whilst leaving the cinema many of us commented on how pleased we would be to see it win the Oscar. And it did, the very same night.
What makes "Das Leben der Anderen" so brilliant to me is the choice of topic- an account of the years of dangerous living in East Germany, during which almost everyone was dubbed suspicious by the Stasi, until after careful and detailed examination the opposite was proved, the obsession with the non-existent enemies of the non-existent prosperity, the overall greyness of the atmosphere in East Berlin. And then, there is also the process that the character of Wiesler undergoes, unveiling the emptiness of his own existence, the process presented with the subtle pace that Donnersmarck dexterously set. The ending is one of the most powerful ones that I have ever seen, containing just the right words- It is for me- spoken by a man who for the first time in his life seems to be doing something for himself, a man who had no life of his own, who lived through other people's lives, but also- It is for me- the words spoken to denote that somebody out there (Dreyman) actually dedicated something (Die Sonate vom guten Menschen) to him.
A gripping story of what happened somewhere in East Berlin to somebody else, not us, or maybe a reminder of what happened to many of us at some other place, at some other time, a reminder that came to life through the lives of others somewhere in Berlin.
So powerful, so beautifully crafted. A true gem.