Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Film Review "Paris Je T'Aime" - Paris, I love you too

What I love about short films is that all the fat is cut out and only the critical scenes and dialogue are left in the film. Paris, Je T’aime is a collection of 18 short films strung together to make a two hour feature film. The central theme explored in Paris Je T'aime is love, love in the most romantic city in the world, Paris. All sides of love are explored in this film: the beauty, jealousy, to the pain of losing a loved one and the fragility of young love. Each story is set in different arrondissements (districts in Paris). Paris just looks beautiful in this film, especially at night time when the city lights make the city glow.

Another fascinating feature of this film is the eclectic group of actors and directors from around the globe (France, Great Britain, Australia and United States) were involved. The impressive cast include Juliette Binoche, Willem Dafeo, Gerard Depardieu and Maggie Gyllenhaal. The talented directors include Wes Craven, The Coen brothers and Christopher Doyle. Each director or directing team had only five minutes to tell their story in their assigned arrondissements.

Each story had a different flavour, a different theme about love. The directors use their individual style of directing and story telling to make each story unique and memorable. The result is a colorful and varied collection of short films. Some stories show a special moment in a person’s life, others their life story with a narrative. Stories were explored in different perspectives from visitors to Paris to the locals from different ethnic backgrounds. Expressive Paris mimes, a cowboy and freaky vampires also make appearances in some stories, reflecting the diverse creativity of the people involved.

Credit must be given to the actors who did a great job at drawing the audience in to their world in the little time they had. The stories that stood out the most for me are the unusual ones, such as the ‘Son of the Mime’ because it was had so much delightful humor. Another is the vampire love story which stars Elijah Wood, the visual design and darkness of the story reminded me of the Sin City film.

Stories that intrigued me the most are the ‘moment in time’ stories, where in one scene, one conversation can reveal so much about a person or a couple like the ‘Oscar Wilde’ story which stars Emily Mortimer and Rufus Sewell, and the love story between a young French man and a young Muslim woman. On the other hand, some stories just left me confused and pondering the purpose of it. Since these were all short films and all the fat was cut out, each story had a lot of content to absorb and I found it draining after an hour and a half. Nonetheless it was a fascinating, insightful, enjoyable and sometimes mind boggling movie experience. And yes, Paris, I love you too. (5/5)

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