20 Directors Send Cinematic Postcard from Paris
When you hear that a score of directors collaborated to make a two-hour movie, you can’t help but expect the results to be an unmitigated mess. But I was pleasantly surprised by Paris, Je T’Aime, a cinematic postcard sent from the City of Light by some of the best in the business behind the camera, including the Coen Brothers, Wes Craven, Alfonso Cuaron, Tom Twyker and Gus Van Zant.
The picture is actually comprised of 18 separate shorts, each of which is approximately 5 or 6 minutes in duration. And though the stories bear little relation to each other besides the city chosen as a backdrop, there is a pleasantly seamless quality about the production which almost imperceptibly flows from one tale to the next.
The talented cast assembled for this series of evocative vignettes turns out to be just as impressive as the directors. Among the better-known thespians appearing are Natalie Portman, Steve Buscemi, Emily Mortimer, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Willem Dafoe, Miranda Richardson, Nick Nolte, Bob Hoskins, Elijah Wood, Juliette Binoche, Willem Dafoe, Ben Gazzara, Gerard Depardieu, Rufus Sewell and Gena Rowlands.
The films explore an array of timely and time-tested themes, from infidelity to grief to loneliness to the proverbial Ugly American to racism to immigration to why Muslim women wear headscarves to public displays of affection to class to love and relationships, of course. What is amazing is how each flick manages to involve you in the plight of characters you instantly care about and resolve their predicament in a satisfactory manner.
A novel experiment which worked and which one hopes will be tried again soon.
Excellent (4 stars)
Rated R for profanity and brief drug use.
In French and English with subtitles.
Running time: 120 minutes
Studio: First Look Pictures