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The Best of 2007: 'Paris je T'aime'

Paris je T'aime


Like Angel-A and Seraphim Falls, Paris je T'aime was released a year or so before 2007. However, I only count the time it was available in the US and not when the film emanated originally which would have proved most difficult to get on any previous top ten-twelve lists having been unavailable here in this country. This film is probably the most unusual on this entire list given that is a compilation of short films and not a feature length story.

The film does have one general theme that links all the short films together. They are all about the successes, failures, and fleeting glimpses of love in Gay Ol' Paris. And yes, there is one short film that actually uses the modern misinterpretation of the label, gay, in a segment directed by Gus Van Sant known for his Oscar winning Good Will Hunting. His segment along with Alfonso Cuaron (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Children of Men) probably mark the most odd or uninspiring of segments due to odd writing or lazy direction, but it is in the opinion of this reviewer that pretty much every other short film in this French salute is nothing short of brilliant, beautiful, and hilariously cute. The film features a whole slew of directors shelling out their interpretations of Paris, France including the now Oscar winning Coen Brothers, Wes Craven directing a 'literary' spoof on graveyard romance, Gerald Depardieu directing a John Cassavetes inspired passionate argument (starring the great Gena Rowlands, the wife of the late great director Cassavetes) on failed romance, Alexander Payne of Sideways and All About Schmidt displaying the usual neurotic virtues of American life looking at France objectively, and a really refreshingly hilarious Edward D. Wood Jr inspired segment by budding director Vincenzo Natali where Elijah Wood falls in love with a vampire played by future Bond girl Olga Kurylenko.

Other actors include Steve Buscemi in the Coen Brothers segment (of course), Willem Dafoe as an Old West cowboy admiring Paris' ghosts, Juliette Binoche as a mother chasing ghosts, Bob Hoskins of Who Framed Roger Rabbit fame (Yeah! Remember him fondly?) trying to impress a lady he deeply cares about, Rufus Sewell and Emily Mortimer of many English works, Nick Nolte of 48 Hrs and Breakfast of Champions fame, Maggie Gyllenhaal from Stranger than Fiction and Secretary doing a great job speaking fluent French, Ben Gazzara who is also a veteran of Cassavetes' films, and Natalie Portman delivering a great performance as an actress struggling to find work in Paris and keeping her relationship together with her "blind" boyfriend. Paris, je T'aime isn't for everyone, but for anyone interested I highly recommend it.