Paris, je t'aime (2006) (R)

"Paris, je t'aime" is a festival of film. To begin with, it's not exactly a movie as in one singular plot with subplots; instead, it's a collage or mosaic or short films (each one done with a different director) that paints a picture of what Paris is like.
The title itself, translated means "Paris, I love you" and in each story, it's applicable.
It's a little hard to get into because of how the films come together. The movie opens with one man driving around Paris, trying to find a parking spot. When he finally finds one he relaxes and watches the people walk by until one woman walks by and passes out from low blood sugar. Quickly, he helps the woman into his car and when she wakes up she falls in love with him. Yes, it's quick but somehow you buy this romance. It's the mystique or Paris that is the allure of the film.
We cannot escape the city where each of the short films is shot. It's always there, behind the screen, another player to the film and it plays its part well because all of the films are enjoyable and entertaining.
They range from drama to vampire comedy/romance. An array of actors, some that I recognized and some that I didn't, all tell separate stories about Paris.
The movie is a tour of the city and now I feel like visiting.
Some performances stand out like Juliette Binoche as a woman who has lost her son and Maggie Gyllenhaal (who I didn't know spoke French) as a drug addicted actress who falls in love with a dealer.
Yes, the movies vary and some are bizarre like the tale of a man who falls in love with a very fit hair dresser/kung-fu artist. They can also be very tame like the story of two people who are getting a divorce and have amazing dialogue in a cafeteria.
There's also a blind man who helps an actress.
Nearly each and every film has something to do with love, but each one handles it in a different way.
There are approximately twenty directors for this movie and I found that there was only one of the short films that I disliked altogether, the one done by the Coen brothers. They are sort or hit and miss for me and I feel like they failed to capture the essence of Paris as well as any of the other directors and films. Plus, their film is just a little freaky.
I think that "Paris, je t'aime" is not a film for everyone, though I really enjoyed it.
There are moments that I found funny and bizarre like Elijah Wood in a cartoon-ish vampire story; but it was entertaining and well-done.
The ending is really great and the individual aspects of the short films combine to create a bigger picture. Paris is sugary sweet, there is some heartache and loss but by the end you realize that Paris is not like any other city. All cities are different like all people are different, but Paris has the label of being Paris and that's what makes it iconic. Don't believe me? Watch the film and see if you agree.
"Paris, je t'aime" was a breath of fresh air and the more I think about it the more I really like it.
It stays with you.

Score: 3 and a half stars out of 4

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