Sunday, March 29, 2009

3/27/09: Paris, Je T'aime (2006)

The reason Paris, Je T'aime wound up in my DVD collection is because one segment of this anthology movie was directed by Alexander Payne (Election, Sideways), my favorite contemporary filmmaker. Consisting of 18 short films from directors around the world, Paris, Je T'aime concerns itself primarily with stories of love and loss; it's mostly in French, with a smattering of English. It's a bit like reading a book of short stories, but even more like sampling chocolates from a See's candy assortment—some you're bound to like, while others make you wrinkle your nose and scavenge for a more appealing confection.

The segments in Paris, Je T'aime range from the gimmicky ("Parc Monceau," starring Nick Nolte, is done as one continuous shot) to the overtly comedic ("Tour Eiffel," about the meeting of the mimes) to the fantastic ("Quartier de la Madeleine," a vampire tale) to the unbearably moving ("Place des Victoires" and "Place des Fêtes," both of which had me sobbing uncontrollably). Although not all of the individual films are worthwhile on their own, Paris, Je T'aime as a whole is a lovely tapestry. Bringing up the rear, Payne's segment ("14e arrondissement") is wonderfully poignant, as is another that Payne briefly appears in: Wes Craven's "Père-Lachaise," about a woman (Emily Mortimer, strongly reminiscent of my friend Su) who has a romantic problem with her fiancé (Rufus Sewell). Paris, Je T'aime put me in the mind of Love, Actually, another movie featuring numerous unconnected stories au sujet de l'amour; it has also inspired the upcoming New York, I Love You, which I will now be very curious to check out. Very special thanks to my mate Kevin Christian for gifting me with this DVD! Rating: 5/5.

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