Feel the amour

Paris, Je T’Aime

Paris, Je T’Aime
Starring Natalie Portman, Steve Buscemi, Juliette Binoche and Nick Nolte. Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, Wes Craven, Alexander Payne, Gerard Depardieu and others. Pageant Theatre. Rated R.
Rated 4.0

Ah, Paris. The city of amour. If ever there was a place to write a love letter to, this would be it. Paris, Je T’Aime is quite a love letter.

The film is a compilation of 18 different shorts—the creations of 18 different directors—and each takes a different approach to the topic of love in Paris. Some characters find love, others lose it, and others yearn for it.

As is the nature of the montage, there is no overall tone to the film—it ranges from romantic to melancholy to funny, in about eight-minute intervals. The variance is nice and keeps boredom at bay, and while some filmgoers may long for more cohesiveness, I thought it worked beautifully—especially the ending, which brings together all the pieces.

Some of the most memorable segments feature famous names and faces. Steve Buscemi stars in the Coen Brothers’ piece about a comically sad American tourist in the Paris Metro. Another story casts Natalie Portman as an actress dating a blind Frenchman. Wes Craven’s contribution features the ghost of Oscar Wilde; Elijah Wood plays a vampire in another piece.

In creating the film, the directors were all assigned different neighborhoods in Paris. That’s why many of the titles are neighborhood names—but it doesn’t mean those segments happen to be about those neighborhoods. All of the vignettes, though, are very Parisian in that they evoke the spirit of Paris, without necessarily being overtly set in Paris (although many contain shots of the Eiffel Tower).

The film’s finale found me longing to return to Paris, a city of amour in all its different forms.