Paris je t’aime
20 directors :: France :: 2006 :: 1h50
18 directors, from France and elsewhere, each dedicate 5 minutes of film to the theme of Love in one neighborhood of Paris each. With not only some top directors but also an impressive (similarly international) cast, we are presented with a panoply of micro tales on our so cherished 100 km2. A wonderful cinematographic Symposium theme, which works out somewhat curiously. Most contemporary cinema goers will not be used to watching short films, even if they have been loosely harmonized, and puts some strain on the viewers to get into the characters at TGV speed. None the less, the concept works out more of less well.
There is quite some variety in the type of films shown, from a funny vampire type love story (Vincenzo Natali) to a bitter sweet reflective story (Alexander Payne), and from a clownesque subway scene (Coen brothers) to a the dramatic dealing with loss (Nobuhiro Suwa). But as a whole, despite the international list of film-makers (including some top directors), half the time we seem to be watching Americans in Paris, which makes the city a postcard studio backdrop, against the intention of the film. An unfortunate consequence of the project, which leaves a feeling of disorientation. The movie is neither French, nor is it from anywhere specific, which brings about this cultural schizophrenia. Loving Paris is not about ‘backdrops’, but about people and French culture. Since that is lacking, we must take the movie as ‘Loving in Paris’, where the capital plays a strictly aesthetic background role. Mostly pleasant, but actually not good enough within the context of the project.