PARIS, JE T'AIME (Vignettes of 18 shorts)
Cast: Natalie Portman, Rufus Sewell, Elijah Wood,Maggie Gyllenhaal, Bob Hoskins, et al
Director: Various international directors
Time: 123 mins
Rating: * * 1/2 (out of 4)
WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL? HI, wanna visit Paris and get a taste of the cinematic delights the various parts of the city has to offer? You can see this movie mosaic as some sort of tourism promo for Paris, or as tributes to the French city by some of the world's renowned directors (like Tom Tykwer, Wes Craven and Ethan Coen and Joel Coen).
WHAT'S IT ABOUT? "Paris, Je T’Aime" is a compilation of 18 short films by a host of international directors who offer their reflections on passion and romance, as felt in the hearts of different generations, races and genders. These five-minute shorts approach their subject from a different angle, using a different district of the city as its starting point.
Gus Van Sant, for example, set a gay encounter in Le Marais area while Bob Hoskins searches the porn shops of Pigalle to spice up his relationship with Fanny Ardant. However, the city’s most recognisable tourist attractions aren’t central to the stories — they’re but glimpses or postcard-pretty shots which act as buffers between the individual shorts. The love theme concentrates on people rather than places.
HITS & MISSES: It is quite like servings of hor d'oeuvres, or video tidbits that can be appetising but never filling. Among the 18 shorts, I like the vampire vignette with Elijah Wood, and the Coen Brothers' comedy “Tuileries,” set in a station of the Paris Métro, about nervous American tourist (played by Steve Buscemi) and his encounter with a young couple.
And then there's Wes Craven’s “Père-Lachaise” about a bickering couple, who break up and make up in front of Oscar Wilde’s grave, with a little help from Wilde’s sympathetic ghost. I can go on and on but suffice it is to say that this anthology-style buffet is not everyone's cup of tea. Some of the shorts appear incomplete and confusing. However, if you love Paris, you would probably overlook these flaws...
THE LOWDOWN: Mainly for art cinema fans, film art students and those who prefer style to substance.