Falling in love in Paris

A review of the foreign film “Paris, je t’aime”


Story by Kate Neistrom, Staff Writer

If you are looking for a movie filled with travel, loss, fantasy, controversy, originality and love, look no further than the Davies Center where the film “Paris, je t’aime” will be playing all weekend, courtesy of the International Film Society.

The movie can be found in the Woodland Theater on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and vastly differs from the movies previously featured in the Campus Film Series.

“Paris, je t’aime” is a composition of 18 short films, all directed by different people. Some are in French with English subtitles, some are solely in English and some are completely silent. Some of the films are in black and white while others use color.

All of the films are unified by the central theme that love and Paris go hand-in-hand. Each short film involves some aspect of love occurring around a different section of Paris, which is the only consistency between the films.

Because the structure of the film is so different, there is no singular climactic point and hardly any of the storylines are resolved. Instead of a complete narrative, the film offers specific glimpses into the lives of those living in Paris, leaving the viewer to imagine what happens to the characters after the film ends.

“Paris, je t’aime” premiered in May 2006 at the Cannes Film Festival and while many of the film’s stars are unfamiliar, Americans such as Steve Buscemi, Willem Dafoe, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Natalie Portman and Elijah Wood are sprinkled throughout the mostly foreign cast.

While I had never heard of this film before it was featured at UW-Eau Claire, I had heard of its American counterpart, “New York, I Love You,” which follows a similar structure. Some of the short films are better than others with a few being completely forgettable and downright ridiculous.

The segmented stories took some getting used to, and with many I was left wanting to know what happened next and being sorely disappointed in the ambiguity of the ending. I kept hoping that my favorite characters would reappear somewhere else throughout the film but none ever did.

Certain plots of the movie, as I mentioned before, were absolutely ridiculous, but the good thing about the structure of “Paris, je t’aime” is that no storyline lasted longer than five minutes so it was easy to move on and forget about the film’s missteps.

Overall the film has generally been well-received with an 86 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 66 percent on Metacritic.

One Internet Movie Database user said, “This movie was amazing, to say the least. A creative and unique film, the different directors each lent something different to their interpretation of love in the City of Light.”

Many IMDb users agreed, praising the film’s structure and the directors’ unique points of view. Like all movies, there were those who disagreed, but negative reviews were few and far-between.

If you feel that you may love Paris as much as the directors behind “Paris, je t’aime,” it plays at 7 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday in Woodland Theater.