Thursday, February 7, 2008
Saying I Love You 18 Times
Paris, Je T'aime
Directors: Gus Van Sant, The Coen Bros,
Sylvan Chomet, Wes Craven, Alexander Payne, etc...
Starring: Juliette Binoche, Maggie Gyllenhaal,
Gaspard Ulliel, Elijah Wood, Steve Buscemi and Natalie Portman.
Seeing as Valentine's Day is just around the corner, the one day that is both loved and hated by many. You may love it because it is a day devoted to devotion and caring for your partner. You may hate it because everyone else is so cheery while you are alone. But regardless of what you think love is, here is a film that defies every impression and tradition that love is. Love takes many forms, love for a person, a place, a thing, a child, an old flame or a complete stranger. It is not just love that captivates us, its the feeling of being the favorite person to someone, the light to their day, the sun in their sky. And in Paris, Je T'aime, we are the witness to 18 short vignettes about the almighty power of love.
How do you review a movie that isn't really a movie, more like 18 short scenes about romance? Do you individually analyze each film? Or do you let the reader/viewer see it for themselves? The thing about Paris, Je T'aime is that it is an ensemble piece to the grandest scale. A movie that is woven by 18 unrelated short films and still makes sense at the end. It may not always make sense, but then again, does love ever make sense?
Paris, Je T'aime is less a movie, more a cornucopia of true beauty and love. Not only love, but each film is set in a different part of the city of love. 18 directors, many different actors and many different reactions I had for the films.
I guess to describe the movie I would have to tell about the movies that stood out and that spoke to me the most. While the majority were great, a few were better than others. One of my favorites, Le Marais by Gus Van Sant(Who I have loved since My Own Private Idaho) tells the story about two men, one who speaks French and thinks the other boy can understand him. One exchanges a number, and the rest I will not spoil. I like this one because it left me warm and curious as two what happened next. Another movie that stood out would have to be Vincenzo Natalis Quartier de la Madeleine because I adore cheesy vampire stories. The Tour Eiffel short by Sylvan Chomet is particularly wonderful because a) Chomet directed The Triplets of Belleville and b) it shows that love can be found in all places and even people like mimes can have soul mates. And lastly, the powerful Place des Fêtes about a man who loves a girl and does anything he can for her. I won't say anymore, it will hit you like a ton of bricks.
So since a movie like this can only be truly summed up when you watch it and cannot be justified in writing alone, I just will say that if you want a great romance movie to watch whether or not you see it on Valentine's Day, its still a magnificent feast for the eyes, the senses and the heart.