Paris Je T'Aime

Paris Je T'Aime

***

Reviewed by: Chris

A smorgasbord of talent. Twenty glimpses of Paris - its different suburbs. High quality shorts masterfully united.

A veiled woman intrigues us about the beauty beneath her hijab. Gus Van Sant delights with a flirtation between two young boys (and a surprise revelation). Steve Buscemi's mind-boggling tourist guide accompanies him through a surreal Coen Brothers encounter in the Metro. Maggie Gyllenhaal gets stoned off her face preparing for an acting role. Bob Hoskins hangs out in sleazy Pigalle. Elijah Wood discovers his inner vampire. Oscar Wilde's burial place inspires one humourless would-be bridegroom and saves his relationship. Tom Tykwer takes us running through the streets of Saint-Denis with a blind man in love. Gerard Depardieu is a bartender - and a host of other stars and directors charm us with strange and original tales of love in the city of love.

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These vignettes are a whirlwind tour of the heart of each arrondissement, but they focus on Frenchness, or Parisienness rather than over-exploiting famous landmarks... which makes it all the more fun recognising the locales. The quality is superb - each short film is almost a masterclass - but the overall effect can be wearying.

Such a torrent of shorts leaves no room to develop an overall momentum, however skilfully they are knitted together. Each touches our emotions in a different way. Yet it is like nibbling for nearly two hours in the kitchens of the best chefs. At the end we are exhausted and hungry.

The concept of Paris Je t'Aime is a beautiful one. This film is a permanent and worthy homage to the great city. But as cinema it seems sadly unsatisfying.

Reviewed on: 17 Feb 2007
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Twenty different glimpses of Paris.
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