Paris, je t'aime
Directors and Writers: Olivier Assayas, Fr�d�ric Auburtin, Emmanuel Benbihy, Gurinder Chadha, Sylvain Chomet, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Isabel Coixet, Wes Craven, Alfonso Cuar�n, G�rard Depardieu, Christopher Doyle, Richard LaGravenese, Vincenzo Natali, Alexander Payne, Bruno Podalyd�s, Walter Salles, Oliver Schmitz, Nobuhiro Suwa, Daniela Thomas, Tom Tykwer, Gus Van Sant
Producers: Claudie Ossard, Emmanuel Benbihy
Starring: Ben Gazzara, Bob Hoskins, Elijah Wood, Emily Mortimer, Fanny Ardant
MPAA Rating: R
Running time: 120 min
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reviewed by Misael Soto
     A compilation of shorts all about falling in love in the city of love. One would think someone would've thought of this before, huh?! Well technically they did. In 1964, six of France's most famous directors: Claude Chabrol, Jean Douchet, Jean-Luc Godard, Jean-Daniel Pollet, Eric Rohmer, and Jean Rouch (surprisingly Francois Truffaut is absent) collaborated on a film about their beloved city. The result was Paris vu par�. Although much has stayed the same, a great deal has changed in Paris since then. In the spirit of the original project, Paris Je T�aime was conceived including 18 shorts from an international group of some of today�s brightest directors. And what a varied and wonderful group of shorts they are!

      While a few went completely over my head or were simply not up to par with the rest of the lot, nearly every one of the short films has its own unique and well thought out take on that which makes us come together and divides us just as quickly; love.

      And here we have nearly every kind of love. The love for a child, the kind of love that comes and goes, the love for God, love at first sight, love loss, love rekindled. Love
can be desperate, it can be selfish, and it can be a whole lot of fun. Love can also be an addiction. It can make us turn ugly for a moment and it can also reveal the ugly in others. Above all, love reminds us that we're alive and keeps us going, making us see the best of what we have. And no other city in the world reminds us of love and brings people together the way Paris does.

      While most of the shorts are enjoyable, many resort to last second (literally) twists, as is common with shorts, which really shake the foundation of the story. Some withstand this, with twist endings that in turn strengthen the film as with the Coen Brother's hilarious Tuileries or Walter Salles amazingly poignant Loin du 16�me. But many fall under cheap and/or corny plot twists as with the highly stylized Quartier de la Madeleine, Vincenzo Natali's vampire-love tale starring Elijah Wood and Tom Tykwer's love story in fast-forward Faubourg Saint-Denis.

      Still, the film includes a good 5 or 6 utterly fantastic, memorable shorts. Some of which had tears rolling down my cheeks (quite the feat considering each is about 5 minutes). A thoroughly inventive mime-love story, Tour Eiffel from The Triplettes of Belleville director Sylvain Chomet, touched me and had me laughing simultaneously. Pigalle from Richard LaGravenese one-upped the rest by including the twist in the beginning, allowing character development and great acting (Bob Hoskins and Fanny Ardant) to carry the rest of the short. And perhaps my favorite, relatively unknown director Oliver Schmitz's Place des F�tes is the crowning example of a twist ending done right. Given that the film is as short as it is, it would be a crime to say any more.

      The joy and sense of belonging one feels towards Paris and, more than that, to the human race as a whole after seeing Paris Je T�aime is a contagious and wonderful feeling. It�s a feeling that makes up for the shorts that fall flat (there are a few clunkers). The film quite frankly will make you feel good. You�ll fall in love with the city of lights, even if you�ve never been. That, and the fact that not in any of the shorts did I hear Cole Porter�s �I Love Paris,� are reason enough to go out of your way to enjoy Paris Je T�aime.



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Links:
IMDb.com - full cast and crew
Official Site
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