Name: Paris, je t’aime
Release Year: 2006
Language: French, English, Spanish, Mandarin, Arabic
Director: Gurinder Chadha, Sylvain Chomet, Joel and Ethan Coen, Gérard Depardieu, Wes Craven, Alfonso Cuarón, Nobuhiro Suwa, Alexander Payne, Tom Tykwer, Walter Salles, Yolande Moreau and Gus Van Sant.
Running Time: 2 h
Genre: Romance, Drama
Plot Summary: The movie is an anthology film starring an ensemble cast of various actors of different nationalities and directed by an ensemble of directors. It takes its audience through the arrondissements of Paris and presents 5 min short films inspired by the subject of love and the city itself.
So, one thing to know about my taste in movies is that I really enjoy watching the eccentric, artsy ones. I wouldn’t call Paris, je t’aime eccentric, but it’s definitely artsy, emotional, imaginative, heart-warming, and unique all at once.
As I have mentioned before, it is an anthology film, which means that it’s a feature film consisting of small, disconnected films. I think it’s my first time watching something like this. I didn’t even know what an anthology film meant, so you can imagine my confusion when the first film stopped abruptly and another one began.
I think that’s one of the things that really struck me; every segment is short but you still get invested in the story. Once you realize how the format works, you’ll be on the edge of your seat: How will this one end? What’s next? Every one of the stories, even the boring ones, had the capability to stand on its own as a full length drama, and I think that shows the brilliance of the directors.
The recurring theme was love in all its shapes and forms, coming together in a harmonious orchestra of artistic visions. It was not a perfect movie; there were a couple of segments that fell flat but I think that, as a whole, it had more positive points than negative ones. I think that every person will find a segment that appeals to them in this magical, romantic and beautiful ode to the city of light.
Because of its format, I will only talk about my two favorite segments, so here goes!
A young man, hanging out with two friends who cat-call all women who walk by, strikes up a friendship with a young Muslim woman (he totally had a crush on her).
It’s hard to explain why I loved this segment, but I think it’s because it was so simple and innocent yet still managed to touch on a lot of important subjects. The young man asks the girl why she covers her hair even though it’s beautiful, and she responds that when she wears her Hijab, she feels that she’s part of a faith and an identity and that makes her feel good about herself. To her, that’s also beauty.
The young man later meets her grandfather who tells him that she wants to become a journalist so she could write about France, but most importantly about her France. It was very subtle but I think that line was a “clin d’œil” to the unheard voices of France who could one day become the key to solving its cultural clashes.
How can you not love that?
A young male customer finds himself attracted to a young printshop worker and tries to explain that he believes the man to be his soulmate, not realizing that he speaks little French.
This segment, which starts out with a very awkward one sided conversation, deals with the subject of soulmates. I would like to comment on this with a quote from Yasmina Khadra’s book, ‘What the Day Owes the Night’: “Whoever misses the most beautiful story of his life will only have the age of regrets and all the sighs of the world will not lull his soul. ”
I loved this segment because it was very Shakespearean; how poetically tragic would it be to walk right next to someone and not realize that they’re your soulmate? Or in the case of this story, not be able to communicate with them? How often do important chances slip through our fingers just because we’re too hesitant to grab them?
I loved it. I love it when a movie captures the beauty of everyday life in subtle ways and makes you ponder on the smallest of actions.
Special mention to Elijah Wood’s vampire segment, anyone got a Lord of the Rings feel when watching his hiding scene? No? Ok.