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Paris Je T’Aime

September 6, 2010

Paris Je T’Aime (2006)
Directors: Various

Synopsis: Various short films showcasing life in a particular district of Paris.

Review: This portmanteau of short films is probably too loose and oblique to play as a conventional picture-postcard to the tourist wonders of Paris, but as an academic exercise on the notion of filmmaking, the film has great worth. It is fascinating to see how the eighteen filmmakers have interpreted their remit (to base a short film, no matter how tenuously, in a specified Parisian location) so differently. We have the full gamut of tactics from the films that favour micro-narratives, to those that try to ambitiously create mini-genre works, to more laissez-faire constructions that simply point the camera and try not to worry about a fully-concentrated plot. The variety of styles and stories in essence makes the project, though if I had to pick out some of the more successful episodes, I would select Alfonso Cuaron’s “Parc Monceau” which by employing a relaxed, street-level verité approach, conveys the essence of its characters and its neighbourhood as effectively as more deliberated and technically-accomplished sequences. Arguably the best piece is the final film, Alexander Payne’s distinctively mordant dissection of a lonely middle-aged American woman who, despite the initial banality of her touristy intentions (cleverly conveyed through faux voiceover), reaches a sense of genuine personal epiphany inspired by the resplendent sites and emotions she experiences in Paris. (June 2009)

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