Paris, je t'aime is about the plurality of cinema in one mythic location: Paris, the City of Love. Twenty filmmakers have five minutes each; the audience must weave a single narrative out of twenty moments. The 20 moments are fused by transitional interstitial sequences and also via the introduction and epilogue. Each transition begins with the last shot of the previous film and ends with the first shot of the following film, extending the enchantment and the emotion of the previous segment, preparing the audience for a surprise, and providing a cohesive atmosphere. There's a reappearing mysterious character who is a witness to the Parisian life. A common theme of Paris and love fuses all.Written by
In "Bastille", when Marie-Christine receives Sergio's text message, you can see the text cursor blinking. This shows that the text was actually written on Marie-Christine's phone. See more »
[Injured and bleeding]
I just got stung by a lousy mosquito. These neighborhoods are dangerous. Lagos is safer. What's your name?
I'd give you my card but I have none left. Too bad! Sophie, fancy a cup of coffee? Go on! Can I massage your feet?
Why would I let you?
Because they hurt.
You were running in my dreams all night... Please have coffee with me.
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"If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you,
... for Paris is a moveable feast." Ernest Hemingway
It is impossible to count how many great talents have immortalized Paris in paintings, novels, songs, poems, short but unforgettable quotes, and yes - movies. The celebrated film director Max Ophüls said about Paris,
"It offered the shining wet boulevards under the street lights, breakfast in Montmartre with cognac in your glass, coffee and lukewarm brioche, gigolos and prostitutes at night. Everyone in the world has two fatherlands: his own and Paris."
Paris is always associated with love and romance, and "Paris, Je T'Aime" which is subtitled "Petite romances," is a collection of short films, often sketches from 18 talented directors from all over the world. In each, we become familiar with one of the City of Light 20 arrondissements and with the Parisians of all ages, genders, colors, and backgrounds who all deal in love in its many variations and stages. In some of the "petite romances" we are the witnesses of the unexpected encounters of the strangers that lead to instant interest, closeness, and perhaps relationship: like for Podalydès and Florence Muller in the street of Montmartre in the opening film or for Cyril Descours and Leïla Bekhti as a white boy and a Muslim girl whose cross-cultural romance directed by Gurinder Chadha begins on Quais de Seine. I would include into this category the humorous short film by Gus Van Sant. In "Le Marais" one boy pours his heart out to another boy confessing of sudden unexpected closeness, asking permission to call - never realizing that the object of his interest does not understand French.
Some of the vignettes are poignant and even dark. In Walter Salles and Daniela Thomas' Loin du 16ème, Catalina Sandino Mareno (amazing Oscar nominated debut for Maria full of Grace) is single, working-class mother who has to work as a nanny in a wealthy neighborhood to pay for daycare where she drops her baby every morning before she goes to work. One of most memorable and truly heartbreaking films is "Place des Fêtes" by Oliver Schmitz. Aïssa Maïga and Seydou Boro co-star as two young people for who love could have happened. There were the promises of it but it was cut short due to hatred and intolerance that are present everywhere, and the City of Love and Light is no exception. Another one that really got to me was "Bastille", written and directed by Isabel Coixet, starring Sergio Castellitto, Miranda Richardson, and Leonor Watling. Castellitto has fallen out of love with his wife, Richardson but when he is ready to leave with the beautiful mistress, the devastating news from his wife's doctor arrives...
I can go on reflecting on all 18 small gems. I like some of them very much. The others felt weak and perhaps will be forgotten soon but overall, I am very glad that I bought the DVD and I know that I will return to my favorite films again and again. They are "Place des Fêtes" that I've mentioned already, "Père-Lachaise" directed by Wes Craven that involves the ghost of one of the wittiest and cleverest men ever, Oscar Wilde (Alexander Payne, the director of "Sideways") who would save one troubled relationship. Payne also directed "14th Arrondissement" in which a lonely middle-aged post-worker from Denver, CO explores the city on her own providing the voice over in French with the heavy accent. Payne's entry is one of the most moving and along with hilarious "Tuileries" by Joel and Ethan Coen with (who else? :)) Steve Buschemi is my absolute favorite. In both shorts, American tourists sit on the benches (Margo in the park, and Steve in Paris Metro after visiting Louvers) observing the life around them with the different results. While Margo may say, "My feeling's sad and light; my sorrow is bright..." Steve's character will find out that sometimes, even the most comprehensive and useful tourist guide would not help a tourist avoiding doing the wrong things in a foreign country.
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