In PARIS, JE T'AIME, celebrated directors from around the world, including the Coen Brothers, Gus Van Sant, Gurinder Chadha, Wes Craven, Walter Salles, Alexander Payne and Olivier Assayas, have come together to portray Par... more »is in a way never before imagined. Made by a team of contributors as cosmopolitan as the city itself, this portrait of the city is as diverse as its creators' backgrounds and nationalities. With each director telling the story of an unusual encounter in oe of the city's neighborhoods, the vignettes go beyond the 'postcard' view of Paris to portray aspects of the city rarely seen on the big screen. Racial tensions stand next to paranoid visions of the city seen from the perspective of an American tourist. A young foreign worker moves from her own domestic situation into her employer's bourgeois environs. An American starlet finds escape as she is shooting a movie. A man is torn between his wife and his lover. A young man working in a print shop sees and desires another young man. A father grapples with his complex relationship with his daughter. A couple tries to add spice to their sex life. These are but a few of the witty and serendipitous narratives that make up PARIS, JE T'AIME.« less
Deborah A. from SARASOTA, FL Reviewed on 12/27/2012...
Love this movie with the vignettes of the different neighborhoods in Paris. My favorite was the middle-aged American woman who visits Paris for the first time and speaks really bad French!! Very inventive and creative project.
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Mary L. (marymix) from NANTUCKET, MA Reviewed on 11/24/2011...
eh, this was ok. A collection of mostly unrelated short stories, some are better than others. It was nice to see some of the Paris scenes but this wasn't really a celebration of Paris. Some of the so-called love stories are pretty twisted.
2 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
E. A Solinas | MD USA | 05/31/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Paris is a city of light, lovers, art and beauty. And "Paris, Je T'aime" explores all the sides of the city in in eighteen brief fiolms, all set in various arrondissements of Paris, and directed by some brilliantly underrated directors. And they seem to be about love -- often it's a person, but each one is also an ode to Paris itself.
A somewhat lonely Denver mailwoman (Margo Martindale) makes her first trip to Paris, and recounts how "I fell in love with Paris, and Paris fell in love with me." A mime spreads colour and mischief on his way to love. Two strangers fall in love in a bar. A medic learns that a dying man is in love with her, and seeking her out inadvertantly led to his death at the hands of a racist gang.
A young boy leaves his misogynistic pals behind, to seek love with a young Muslim girl. A pair of British people visit the tomb of Oscar Wilde in Pere-Lachaise, an American actress falls for her drug dealer, and a young nanny's dismal living conditions are a stark contrast to that of the people she works for. All these -- and more -- are intertwined gently in the finale.
But two stand out especially. Tom Tykwer's includes a young blind man (Melchior Beslon) receiving a call from his American actress girlfriend (Natalie Portman). She tells him, "Our spring was wonderful but summer is over now and we missed out on autumn... our love fell asleep, and the snow took it by surprise." In his sorrow, he thinks back to how they met, and how their relationship continued... and gets a surprise.
And Vincenzo Natali turns in a bloody, gothic love story. A young American tourist (Elijah Wood) is walking alone at night, when he steps in a pool of blood. He follows the blood to where a beautiful vampire (Olga Kurylenko) is slurping someone to death -- only to have a sudden attraction bloom up between them. When he has a fall, what will happen?
"Paris Je T'aime" has it all -- comedy, tragedy, romance, racial tension, religion, vampires, sunlit vacations, glamour and cliches. Okay, there's the occasional dud -- "Tuileries," about an American tourist by the Coen Bros., is just lame. But since all the directors are given only about five minutes, most of them are tiny, polished gems without any extraneous material.
Natali's is colourless (except for blood) and eerie, Gurinder Chadha's is shyly sweet and sunny, Richard LaGravenese's is adorable, Craven's is syrupy, and Tykwer's is a delicate web of camera tricks and blurred glimpses. Sylvain Chomet even charms us with mimes zooming through the streets. And each brings another dimension of Paris to life, from lush green parks to bars to the Eiffel Tower itself.
And the acting is just as great -- the great Juliette Binoche, Seydou Boro, Catalina Moreno, Marianne Faithfull, Fanny Ardant, Gérard Depardieu, and the adorable Melchior Beslon. Martindale deserves special praise for her sweetly realistic portrayal of an American tourist, and Portman is brilliantly vibrant as a girl who yells a lot. And Elijah Wood turns out a brilliant performance in total silence, managing to convey fear, mischief, eroticism and love.
"Paris Je T'aime" is a collection of little gems, with the occasional dull pebble thrown in -- brilliant directors, emotionally charged stories, and great acting. Enchanté!"
You'll Always Have Paris...
MICHAEL ACUNA | Southern California United States | 05/27/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Directed by a slew of the very best directors (Alfonso Cuaron, The Coen Brothers, Gus Van Sant, Alexander Payne to name a few), "Paris Je t'aime" is a mixed bag of short vignettes about the who's, the why's and the wherefore's of love set in the City of Love: Paris. As is usually the case in this type of enterprise, the directors with the best scripts and the best technique and vision come off the best. The amazing thing is that producers Emmanuel Benbihy and Claudie Ossard have double-handedly breathed new life in what was thought of as a pretty much dead, at least in its commercial art form entity ...the short film, by assembling 18 films made by 21 directors. In one of the best and most effective and affecting, "Bastille," a man (Sergio Castellito) on the verge of leaving his wife (Miranda Richardson) for his mistress learns that the wife is terminally ill and decides to stay with her. The main character's wall-to-wall stream-of-consciousness takes us through the whole story in voice-over: "by acting like I was in love, I fell in love with my wife again." In "14ème Arrondissement," directed by Alexander Payne, a middle-aged American mail carrier from Denver, who diligently studied French as she prepared for the trip of a lifetime to Paris, walks around the city sharing her impressions in voice-over. She talks about her lonely life, the beautiful scenery, her happiness at being in Paris but her sadness at having to experience it alone. But, sitting in a Paris park one day she experiences a sudden epiphany: a life affirming and life changing epiphany that she will without a doubt take home with her to Denver. Acting-wise, along with those mentioned above, Ben Gazzara, Gena Rowlands, Gaspard Ulliel, Juliette Binoche, Steve Buscemi, and Fanny Ardant...organic, deeply committed actors all make the very best of their short but sweet appearances. Like its literary twin, the short story, the short film has very little time to make an impression and impact and though there are a couple of miss-steps presented here, "Paris Je T'aime" is as a whole a very beautiful, very cohesive, effective and blissfully thoughtful film. "
Paris Je T'aime : 18 'petite romances' in one French film.
G. Merritt | Boulder, CO | 10/04/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Who doesn't love Paris? As magical as Amelie, Paris Je T'aime is a charmer, and like a box of French chocolates, this collection of 18 short films has something to please everyone. Subtitled "Petite romances," eighteen directors participated in this omnibus project, each assigned to a different Paris arrondissement (neighborhood) to make a short (8-minute) film about love in its many variations, whether romantic, gay, maternal, paternal, unrequited, fading, or learning to love oneself. Directors include: Olivier Assayas, Frédéric Auburtin, Gurinder Chadha, Sylvain Chomet, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Isabel Coixet, Wes Craven, Alfonso Cuarón, Gérard Depardieu, Christopher Doyle, Richard LaGravenese, Vincenzo Natali, Alexander Payne, Bruno Podalydès, Walter Salles, Oliver Schmitz, Nobuhiro Suwa, Daniela Thomas, Tom Tykwer, and Gus Van Sant.
The film also offers an impressive cast: Fanny Ardant, Juliette Binoche, Steve Buscemi, Willem Dafoe, Gérard Depardieu, Marianne Faithfull, Ben Gazzara, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Bob Hoskins, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Emily Mortimer, Nick Nolte, Alexander Payne, Natalie Portman, Miranda Richardson, Gena Rowlands, Ludivine Sagnier, Barbet Schroeder, Rufus Sewell, Elijah Wood, Bruno Podalydès, Florence Muller, Leïla Bekhti, Cyril Descours, Gaspard Ulliel, Elias McConnell, Axel Kiener, Julie Bataille, Li Xin, Sergio Castellitto, Leonor Watling, Hippolyte Girardot, Paul Putner, Yolande Moreau, Lionel Dray, Aïssa Maïga, Seydou Bor, Olga Kurylenko, Melchior Beslon, Margo Martindale.
The individual films of Paris Je T'aime include:
Montmartre. (Written and directed by Bruno Podalydès.) Paris Je T'aime opens with a film starring Podalydès and Florence Muller as two strangers, a man and a woman, who encounter unexpected romance on a Paris street.
Quais de Seine. (Written and directed by Gurinder Chadha.) One of my favorites for its depiction of a cross-cultural romance, this film stars Cyril Descours and Leïla Bekhti. A young man's life is changed by a Muslim girl who is teased by his friends.
Le Marais. (Written and directed by Gus Van Sant Good Will Hunting.) This humorous film stars Gaspard Ulliel, Marianne Faithfull, and Elias McConnell.
Tuileries. (Joel and Ethan Coen The Big Lebowski, Fargo, O Brother, Where Art Thou?) In another favorite, Steve Buscemi plays a solo American traveler who encounters an uninhibited Parisian beauty (Julie Bataille) and her jealous boyfriend in the underground Metro.
Loin du 16ème. (Walter Salles and Daniela Thomas) In one of the more poignant films, Catalina Sandino Mareno plays a single, working-class mother who drops her baby off in daycare before going to work as a nanny in an upscale household.
Porte de Choisy. (Writen and directed by Christopher Doyle.) A visually appealing fantasy starring Barbet Schroeder and Li X.
Bastille. (Written and directed by Isabel Coixet.) Starring Sergio Castellitto, Miranda Richardson, and Leonor Watling, this film aims for something more profound than the other shorts, and it succeeds.
Place des Victoires. (Nobuhiro Suwa.) Juliette Binoche brings a mesmerizing performance to this film about a mother confronting the loss of her son, and Willem Dafoe plays the imaginary cowboy who comforts her.
Tour Eiffel. (Writer/director Sylvain Chomet The Triplets of Belleville.) A silly, throw-away film, but what would Paris be without its mimes?
Parc Monceau. (Alfonso Cuarón.) Nick Nolte and Ludvine Sagnier co-star in a single-camera-take love story with an unexpected twist in their relationship.
Quartier des Enfants Rouges. (Written and directed by Olivier Assayas.) In the most controversial film of the bunch, Maggie Gyllenhaal plays an actress with a fondness for drugs.
Place des Fêtes. (Oliver Schmitz.) Aïssa Maïga and Seydou Boro co-star.
Pigalle. (Written and directed by Richard LaGravenese.) Though not as exciting as this film sounds, Fanny Ardant and Bob Hoskins attempt to rekindle the romance in their struggling relationship in one of the naughtier areas of Paris.
Quartier de la Madeleine. (Written and directed by Vincenzo Natali.) A vapid vampire film starring Elijah Wood, Olga Kurylenko, and Wes Craven (as the victim).
Père-Lachaise. (Wes Craven) Set in the famous Le Père-Lachaise Cemetery (where Jim Morrison is buried) Emily Mortimer and Rufus Sewell have a lover's quarrel resolved through a little premarital counseling by the ghost of Oscar Wilde (embodied by director Alexander Payne, Sideways ). Witty.
Faubourg Saint-Denis. (Written and directed by Tom Tykwer.) Beautiful Natalie Portman plays an aspiring American actress and Melchior Beslon as her blind lover. Truly stunning.
Quartier Latin. (Written by Gena Rowlands and directed by Frédéric Auburtin and Gérard Depardieu.) Rowlands and Ben Gazzaraa play a divorcing couple, and Depardieu plays a waiter.
14th Arrondissement. (Directed by Alexander Payne Sideways.) Providing the film's voice-over narration in really poor French, Margo Martindale plays a frumpy Denver postal worker in sneakers who, lonely in Paris, experiences an epiphany while sitting alone in a park. This is the best of the 18 films.
Performed by Feist, one of the songs ("We're All in the Dance") from the film's soundtrack (Paris Je T'Aime) remained stuck in my head for days. Though uneven at times, and with some of the films stronger than others, this 18-carat anthology proves something Humphrey Bogart said in Sabrina: Paris is for lovers. Recommended.
Paris Je T'aime - Interesting Collection of Short Films (Spo
Mark | East Coast | 03/03/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Paris, Je T'Aime
Twenty filmmakers were collected along with a laundry list of top level actors to create a collection of short films, each five minutes long, each representing one of Paris's 18 districts. The result is often understated and sometimes surprising, but worth watching if you like independent film-making and don't mind sub-titles. While not really a traditional "movie" to be enjoyed, it's a nice collection of films for lovers of Paris or international cinema.
The Story and the Script
The stories of "Paris Je T'aime" are a collection of clichés mixed with realism. Of course there's the traditional "Paris is for lovers" theme. There's also several shorts that show the gritty and violent side of Paris. And just for well-roundedness there are several that seem to be more dream sequence than reality.
Overall, the stories are very understated. They each show good writing and great film making. But by and large, they each could have been improved. Overall this collection works, but it feels more about the characters than Paris. Paris is not used as well as it could have been.
The final short is one of the best of the movie, a sweet and surprising take from an American tourist.
Imagery is also used surprisingly underused. With all the great images of Paris that are available, only a few choice shots of the city are used towards the beginning and end of the film. The locations within each district seem secondary to most of the stories. And somehow the lighting seems universally understated. While this may be great for realism, it doesn't give you the beautiful image of Paris you see in movies such as Angel-A.
Acting and Direction
It's hard to criticize acting and direction here. They've collected the world's best film makers and arguably many of the best actors. Still, so many of these actors seem underutilized. Arguably the world's biggest international star, Gerard Depardieu, has 4 very square lines. It works for the film, but it would have been nice to use him more.
Natalie Portman and Elijah Wood are both good, but don't have the best parts in the movie. Some of the better parts are given to actors most American movie goers might not recognize.
All the acting is good, and you could teach a film school directing course from this movie. Still, it works more as a film school project than it does as a movie.
Features and Extras
The DVD includes a making-of feature that is minimal but in some ways flows better than the movie. It's essentially a marketing feature with snippets of dialogue from the various directors and actors. There are some in-depth looks at some of the features, but the main value is that you can put names to the faces of some of the less recognizable actors and directors. More features are no doubt included with the special edition, but other than this feature all you get are coming attractions on the basic DVD
If you love French, Paris, international cinema or independent film, this movie is worth seeing. If you expect the American actors plastered on the jacket pictures to have major roles, or are looking for a really fun movie to watch full of pretty pictures, you may be disappointed.