Paris Je T'Aime is a collection of short stories set in the different districts of Paris. There are eighteen short stories which make up the whole film, which is a cinematic homage to the city of love. Each tale is markedly unique, and specific to the quirky style of its director. There are contributions from an array of directors and actors from around the globe. The theme of love is explored in different ways, from platonic love to love of the city, as well as the more obvious of romantic love.
Each director presents their own short film with a different cast of characters and each varies in length. Some are fully developed stories, whilst others are just small glimpses into a situation. There are a few rather abstract stories also which are more reliant on imagery, dialogue and cinematography. Even though you only get a taste for each of the stories, the film does not seem fragmented or isolating. If anything, they all piece together as a jigsaw, evoking similar messages throughout of longing, connection and being.
Those that are expecting a typically romantic film with a love story, will be shocked, surprised and maybe even disappointed. Although there are positive stories, there are also some very sad stories. Not every scene of Paris is full of light either. The mixture of stories allows for a multi-painted, multi-dimensional city, full of mystery, passion and humour combined. Furthermore, not every short story is in French, with a range of scenes from directors around the world, we are given the point of view of Paris as an outsider and Paris as the other, giving the film more depth and analysis.
I particularly liked ‘Bastille’ by Sergio Castellito, which is about a man who is on the verge of leaving his wife when he discovers she is terminally ill, and thus resolves to stay with her to make her dying days as pleasant as possible. The memorable quote ‘by acting like I was in love, I fell in love with my wife again’ is beautiful and makes a refreshing change to the typical extra-marital affair story. I also really liked the short story by Gurinder Chaddha, 'Quais De Seine' which features a teenage boy who is fascinated by a young Algerian Muslim girl after helping her from a fall. It is beautiful to see them become friends and there is a real message of anti-segregation and multicultural Paris here.
A spectacular collection of short films which highlight the beauty of cinema and showcases talent through an exploration of different themes and visuals. ‘Paris Je T’Aime’ does wonderfully to frame Paris as a character, the main character, that not only acts as a backdrop, but as an outlet and cause for emotions and events. A delightful film: cohesive, poignant, creative and a real celebration of talent.