Vampires, kung-fu hairstylists and Steve Buscemi (Art School Confidential): Not exactly things you would associate with Paris and that elusive and enigmatic emotion we call love. Well, some of you might, but we’re not here to comment on alternative lifestyles.
Nevertheless, this weird combination is what you get in Paris, Je T’aime, a collection of 18 romantic short films set in the City of Lights by some of the world’s most acclaimed directors like Joel and Ethan Coen (O Brother, Where Art Thou?), Gurinder Chadha (Bride & Prejudice), Tom Tykwer (Perfume: The Story of a Murderer) and Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting).
The coolest thing about this film is that you never know what to expect from story to story. Some of the directors take the straightforward approach, but thankfully, none of them ever tread into terribly sappy territory.
The best segments, however, are the ones that take a completely different spin on the theme. The Coen’s Tuileries with Buscemi, for example, shows the brothers’ quirky charm in a story that’s both very plausible and utterly surreal at the same time. Quartier de la Madeline by Vincenzo Natali (Cube) looks at love from a vampire’s point of view. Heck, Wes Craven’s (A Nightmare on Elm Street) Pere-Lechaise even has a cameo from Oscar Wilde (albeit played by Alexander Payne, director of Sideways).
Most of the cast delivers solid, if not great performances. Our only real complaint was Nick Nolte (Hotel Rwanda), who seemingly stumbled through his role in Parc Monceau by Alfonso Cuaron (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban).
All in all, however, a superb who’s who of talent makes this one entertaining set of shorts that’s got a little something for every romantic (or closet romantic) out there.
You’ll dig Paris, Je T’aime if you…: are a fan of any of the aforementioned directors’ films or dream of a chance encounter with a beautiful stranger at the Eiffel Tower.