Paris, Je T’Aime Gets 5 Stars

Release Date: June 21, 2006 (France)
Run Time: 120 min.
Genre: Romance/Drama.

Rating: R: brief language/ brief drugs.
Cast: Julliette Binoche, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Elijah Wood,
Emily Mortimer, Natalie Portman, Gena Rowlands, Nick Nolte.
Directors: Ethan & Joel Coen, Isabel Coixet, Wes Craven,
Walter Salles, and others.
Stars: 5

This is the most subtle and varied collection of short films I’ve ever seen. The brainchild of French television director, Tristan Carne, Paris, Je T’Aime was produced by Emmanuel Benbihy and Claudie Ossard: 18 shorts by 21 directors from all over the world, each set in a different Paris arrondissment.

The theme is love, with Paris in the background.

But, rarely is it the Paris you might see in a postcard; it’s more a sense that Paris is in the air that the characters breathe, or over there a few blocks away, under a street lamp.

You don’t see it, but you hear it, taste it, smell it, feel it. And there are so many ways to do that.

There is the English student of architecture who doesn’t speak much French afraid to accept an invitation, but brimming with longing.

Or the mother of a little boy who loved cowboys. She follows the voice of her dead child calling her out into the dark wet streets and finds, incongruously, an American cowboy sitting on his horse.

Or the long divorced couple meeting by accident in a posh café, remembering why they fell in love and, more to the point, why they fell out of love.

Elijah Wood, an American tourist looking for his hostel late one night, is smitten by a female vampire.

An American couple on honeymoon meets the ghost of Oscar Wilde. In ‘Tuilleries,’ an American tourist learns the dangers of making eye-contact on the metro.

If you’ve never been to Paris, here’s your chance.

Or even if you have been there many times, there is always a new sidestreet to get lost on, a new conversation to overhear, a new shade of an emotion that you forgot you ever had.

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