Monday, June 18, 2007

Oh, L’amour

The collective Paris, Je T’aime explores the neighborhoods of the French capital, but, more importantly, it explores the connections Parisians make – the love they feel, the love they hide, the love for which they yearn….

C’est l’amour; it makes the film go ‘round.

A series of vignettes helmed by directors such as Wes Craven, Alexander Payne, and Walter Salles & Daniela Thomas, the film depicts a moment in the lives of some of the diverse people that inhabit and radiate in the City Lights.

Because the actors have a limited time to draw in the audience, it is essential that Paris Je T’aime be completely engaging.

It was.

I don’t know how each director managed the feat of establishing and making me care for these characters so quickly, but they did so rather successfully – for the most part.

(A couple of vignettes – “Porte de Choisy” and “Quartier de la Madeleine” were thematic departures, but enjoyable nevertheless.)

A particular triumph was Salles & Thomas’ “Loin du 16ème,” which followed Catalina Sandino Moreno’s struggle to balance motherhood and work (pictured at left), and observed the sacrifices that society often asks of people.

Frédéric Auburtin’s tenderly biting “Quartier Latin,” with Ben Gazzara and Gena Rowlands, and Richard LaGravanese’s hopefully romantic “Pigalle,” with Fanny Ardant and Bob Hoskins, were rather funny.

But Payne’s “14ème Arrondissement,” with Margo Martindale as an all-American woman in Paris, delivered the most heart and laughs with its meditation on self-awareness and falling in love with Paris.

To tell you that Paris, Je T’aime is a bold film would be easy, so be bolder and go see it.

My Rating ***1/2


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