Once in a while, one has to try something new when it comes to films. Unlike Toronto Stories, which is another anthology movie I'd recommend, Paris, je t'aime uses a rather different approach while showing as much audacity as its Canadian counterpart. All in all, the film is a rather enjoyable gem.
First of all, to put it shortly, Paris, je t'aime uses 18 short segments directed by internationally acclaimed directors. Of course, each segment takes place in a different district of Paris. In each segment, the directors, through their own vision, offer their own interpretation of the meaning of love in none other than the most romantic city in the world.
Obviously, the first praise that you'd like to offer for this film is certainly its photography. Without looking like a postal card, Paris, je t'aime has no difficulty to capture the city's beauty in order to fit it into the different stories about ordinary people who are either in love or searching for it. Of course, since you're dealing with an anthology film, don't expect all segments to be of the same strength. As a matter of fact, I didn't the point of the segment with the Chinese woman.
Therefore, I'd say that my two favourite segments were Quais de Seine (the Muslim girl and the History student), which was directed by Gurinder Chadha, and 14e arrondissement (the American woman who went alone to France to learn French), which was directed by Alexander Payne. Although I personally believe that religion is a private matter (i.e. no religious symbols in public places) I did like the idea convened by Chadha in her segment. Indeed, while the female character's justification for wearing the veil irked me, I liked the way the idea that love/friendship should know no ethnic/racial/religious boundaries was expressed nonetheless. As for, the segment 14e arrondissement, I raise my two thumbs up for Margo Martindale's effort to speak French even though it's not her primary language. Obviously, her forgivable clumsiness gave to her segment its beauty for it can be felt as an ode to cultural open-mindedness.
In the end, I actually liked this film although I'm not a fan of anthology film and that I found it a little bit long. As a matter of fact, in the good segments, Paris, je t'aime is a visual feast that has no difficulty to develop the characters before our eyes in such a short period. Besides, let's not forget the unforgettable performance by the cast.
Tristan Carné, Emmanuel Benbihy, Bruno Podalydès, Paul Mayeda Berges, Gurinder Chadha, Gus Van Sant, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Walter Salles, Daniela Thomas, Christopher Doyle, Gabrielle Keng, Rain Li, Isabel Coixet, Nobuhiro Suwa, Sylvain Chomet, Alfonso Cuarón, Olivier Assayas, Oliver Schmitz, Richard LaGravenese, Vincenzo Natali, Wes Craven, Tom Tykwer, Gena Rowlands, Nadine Eïd and Alexander Payne
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
Florence Muller, Bruno Podalydès, Leïla Bekhti, Julien Beramis, Cyril Descours, Thomas Dumerchez, Marianne Faithfull, Elias McConnell, Gaspard Ulliel, Julie Bataille, Steve Buscemi, Gulliver Hecq, Axel Kiener, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Barbet Schroeder, Li Xin, Javier Cámara, Sergio Castellitto, Emilie Ohana, Miranda Richardson, Leonor Watling, Juliette Binoche, Martin Combes, Willem Dafoe, Hippolyte Girardot, Roxane Pelicier, Dylan Gomong, Yolande Moreau, Isabelle Patey, Paul Putner, Nick Nolte, Ludivine Sagnier, Lionel Dray, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Joana Preiss, Seydou Boro, Aïssa Maïga, Fanny Ardant, Bob Hoskins, Olga Kurylenko, Elijah Wood, Emily Mortimer, Alexander Payne, Rufus Sewell, Melchior Beslon, Natalie Portman, Gérard Depardieu, Ben Gazzara, Gena Rowlands and Margo Martindale