Friday, July 14, 2006

Paris je t'aime

Oh wow, I just saw the nicest movie, I didn't even realize it was out until I read a review earlier in the week in the Village Voice and said to myself, I must see this movie RIGHT NOW. It's called Paris je t'aime, and it's a collection of eighteen short films, each taking place in a different neighborhood of Paris and each directed by a different director, including Alfonso Cuaron, Tom Twyker, the Cohen brothers, Olivier Assayas, Wes Craven, Gus Van Sant, Christopher Doyle and others. It has an equally impressive cast including Gena Rowlands, Juliette Binoche, Willem Dafoe, Natalie Portman, Elijah Wood, Emily Mortimer, Steve Buscemi, Ludivine Saignier, Nick Nolte, and a whole lot of others. It's based on the age old theme of Love in Paris, but in varying forms. It does a wonderful job of accurately showing Paris as a multicultural patchwork of a city, with the shorts taking place in posh areas such as the 16th as well as violence in the downtrodden suburbs. My favorites were a sequence with mimes, and a sequence with Natalie Portman as an American actress living in Paris with her blind boyfriend, directed by Tom Twyker, which had some of the flashiness of Run Lola Run. I also enjoyed the sequence with Gena Rowlands and Ben Gazzara as an aging couple who are divorcing, directed in part by Gerard Depardieu, which I'm told was supposed to be an homage to John Cassavetes, whose films were distributed and promoted in France by Depardieu. And quite a few others.

I'm not sure if the film is in the US yet but I highly recommend it to francofiles when it arrives. Even if most of it is in French, a few of the shorts are in English, and some of the ones with American actors had them not speaking at all, such as Steve Buscemi entangled in a lovers' quarrel inside the Tuileries metro station in the Cohen brothers sequence, and Elijah Wood's encounter with a vampire in "Quartier de la Madeleine". Maitresse reviewed the film here, I love and agree with her ending words: "If I were still living in the States, frustrated and longing to move to Paris, seeing this film would have put me over the edge. Good thing I'm already here." Be forewarned, francofiles, this is very very true...


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